FameLab 2017: Edinburgh heat #FameLab

FameLabhttps://dublin.sciencegallery.com/files/podcast/images/famelab-square-31.jpg is a science communication competition in which scientists, mathematicians and engineers have three minutes to convey a scientific concept of their choice. The next international grand final takes place at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2017.

Yesterday Heriot-Watt University hosted the Edinburgh FameLab heat to select four presenters to put forward to the Scottish final at the National Museum of Scotland on Saturday 7th January 2017. I was delighted to be invited to serve on the judging panel this afternoon alongside four fellow judges:

FameLab Edinburgh heat judges

Four of the FameLab judges: Steve Darling, Bill MacPherson, Alaina Macri and Hazel Hall

Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University) took charge of the afternoon’s proceedings by chairing the series of three minute presentations. These covered a very wide range of topics including robotics and artificial intelligence, the lifespan of cancer cells, product packaging, functions of the liver, behavioural contagions, drones, lasers, distilling, blockchain, properties of gold, and fecal transplants. It was obvious that the participants had devoted much effort to fine-tuning their performances, all of which contributed to a very entertaining and thought-provoking afternoon.

At the conclusion of the presentations we judges were sent away to deliberate over the selection of the four FameLab heat winners. Meanwhile the participants were challenged with a quiz in the auditorium.  Our choices made, we returned to announce the names of the four finalists who will complete in the Scottish final next month. They are Research Fellow Mhairi Aitken; PhD students Yana Aleksandrova and Callam Davidson; and NHS Biomedical Scientist Tracey Joiffe.

FameLab 2017 Edinburgh heat winners he

The Edinburgh FameLab 2017 heat winners: Tracey Joiffe, Mhairi Aitken, Yan Aleksandrova, & Callam Davidson

Thanks are due to the Heriot Watt public engagement team members who put together such an excellent afternoon of scientific entertainment – especially Laura Wicks, Kat Przybycien and Pat Hymers – and to trainer Iain Davidson who worked with the presenters to ensure the high standard of their performances on the day. Many were also appreciative of the rather beautiful mince pies that were served in the afternoon break, so bravo to the Heriot Watt catering staff too!

Heriot Watt mince pies

Heriot Watt mince pies

Generation X, personal reputation, and social media: new publication in Information Research

Information Research header

Managing and evaluating personal reputations on the basis of information shared on social media: a Generation X perspective‘ has been published this week in Information Research. I co-authored this paper with Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Frances Ryan, and colleagues Peter Cruickshank and Alistair Lawson. Continue reading

Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement: project update #IL-DEM

Information Literacy group logoThe Centre for Social Informatics is currently undertaking a project entitled Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM).  Supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, our work investigates levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system.

Specifically Peter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are exploring how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so we’re extending two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research. Continue reading

Edinburgh Napier University launches its LGBT+ network

Last Tuesday evening I was pleased to attend the launch event of new employee network at Edinburgh Napier University for LGBT+ colleagues and their supporters. The establishment of the network results from the University’s collaboration with Stonewall, the LGBT charity. Research conducted by Stonewall has demonstrated that such networks can play a vital role in supporting LGBT+ colleagues (whether or not that are out at work), and can help drive positive change in the workplace. Continue reading

Congratulations to ASIST Annual Lecture 2016 bursary award winners #asist_al16

Congratulations to three research students who have won bursary award places to support attendance at the ASIST Annual Lecture 2016, and an Information Science Masterclass hosted by Edinburgh Napier University. Both events take place next week in Edinburgh on Wednesday 30th November 2016. Continue reading

From #asist2016 in Copenhagen to #ili2016 in London – and back home to Edinburgh again

#ASIST2016 & #ILI2016 brochures and lanyards Last month I participated at two conferences back-to-back: the 79th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST2016) in Copenhagen from Friday 15th to Tuesday 18th October, and then the second day of Internet Librarian International (ILI2016) in London on Wednesday 19th October. Continue reading

Congratulations Leo Appleton: winner of the LIRG LIS Researcher Practitioner Award 2016

Congratulations to Leo Appleton, who was awarded the 2016 Research Practitioner Excellence Award by the Library and Information Research Group (LIRG) at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) 2016 New Professionals Day in London last Friday 28th October 2016.  Leo is Associate Director of Library Services at the University of the Arts, London, and a part-time PhD student within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, where I am his Director of Studies.

Leo Appleton LIRG Research Practitioner Excellence Award

Leo Appleton at the awards ceremony in London on Friday 28th October 2016 (photo credit LIRG)

Continue reading