AGM: 2nd April 2014

Our AGM this year will take place on Wednesday 2nd April at 5.30pm in F2, Firth Court, University of Sheffield. See the Facebook event page for the most up to date information:

The AGM will be an opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements over the past year, and we will also elect a new committee to continue the work of Science Brainwaves. The following positions are up for election.

The Chair of Science Brainwaves is responsible for overseeing the activities and events carried out under the Science Brainwaves banner, ensuring we are a well-rounded volunteering group. The role of Chair involves maintaining and enhancing contacts with the British Science Association and the University departments, maximising our profile. The Chair will work closely with the Treasurer to find funding opportunities, as well as the Heads of Volunteering, Projects, Outreach and Events to organise recruitment and outreach events.

Head of Projects
Science Brainwaves works closely with the Sheffield University Outreach department, to run school workshops and volunteering days, as well as the Children’s University. The Head of Projects will therefore work closely with the Sheffield Volunteering, CU and Outreach departments to organise outreach days and workshops and to develop new activities for these workshops. Alongside this, part of the Head of Projects job will be to ensure risk assessments, volunteer training etc is carried out.

Head of Events
Science Brainwaves organises a large number of events such as regular family lectures and one-off ticketed events such as “Grubs Up” and “Science of Love”. The Head of Events will brainstorm and oversee these events, liaising with volunteers and other committee members to organise and help run these events. The Head of Events will work closely with the Treasurer to apply for funding for these events, and Head of Media and Chair to ensure we are publicising the events well and that we are organising events for a broad audience.

Head of Outreach
Science Brainwaves organises a number of outreach events such as after-school clubs, Scouts and Community Centres. The Head of Outreach will liaise with interested parties, identify needs and work with other Science Brainwaves members to organise and run these activities. This member of the committee will also be responsible for overseeing the development of new activities for these events alongside the Head of Projects.

Head of Volunteers
The diverse and dynamic activities that Science Brainwaves runs means that we are always in need of volunteers. The person in this role will maintain a database of volunteers and work with other committee members to ensure the organisation’s activities are staffed. This includes working to recruit new volunteer members and ensure the organisation is open to all. The British Science Association also has regulations for volunteers which must be met and documented by the Head of Volunteers.

Science Brainwaves uses the British Science Association for its accounting, and has an account with them as well as a Society account with the University. The treasurer will oversee the organisation’s finances including reimbursements to members and keeping accounts. The role will also involve supporting the Head of Projects, Head of Events and Chair in submitting grant applications, and ensuring that opportunities for funding are not missed. The treasurer will also be responsible for fundraising events.

Interested in being on the committee? Please email for more information and to register your interest. Each position will be elected by those attending the AGM, with the exception of Chair. This role will be elected by the current committee and anyone interested will be required to submit a statement on why they will be suitable.

If the committee isn’t for you, please come along anyway and find out about all of our volunteering opportunities! We will also be going for some food and drinks after the meeting, and you’re very welcome to join us.


New committee and AGM

The Science Brainwaves AGM was held on April 25th and saw the election of a new committee for 2013/14.

Chair: Nikki Whiting
Head of Projects: Sam Blakemore
Head of Outreach: Emma Curran
Head of Schools: Rosie Cassidy
Head of Volunteers: Deborah Murison
Head of Website: Dom Swain
Head of Publicity: Steph Kerr
Secretary: Emma Jardine
Treasurer: Becky Hoyle

A big welcome to all our new committee members, and thanks to everyone who attended the AGM. Don’t forget, even if you’re not part of the committee we still want to hear your ideas for Brainwaves. We’re nothing without our volunteers!

Get involved!

Well it seems you can’t always get things right where technology is involved! Yesterday evening we held out intro meeting for new recruits to come and find out all about what it is we do and what opportunities there are for everyone. Unfortunately, we had issues getting our mass email sent out so a lot of people got the email after the meeting. SO here you will find all the information you need and how to get involved.

We are going to be holding our AGM on the 2nd of November, at 5.15pm, in F2 lecture theatre of Firth Court. If you are interested in going for any of the positions that will be listed in this blog, then you’ll need to go to that, or email

So first of all, a little history. In November 2009 a group of Ph.D students came together to organise a public lecture. The idea was to reach out to the public and provide the opportunity for learning that was accessible to everyone. The topic was vaccines presented by Professor Adam Finn, over 300 people attended from all backgrounds and with ages ranging from eight to eighty. From this success the group decided to continue and so Science Brainwaves was formed.Science Brainwaves has two areas of operation: the public domain and the academic. We aim to increase communication amongst scientists and to the wider community through innovative and engaging events, the creating of which pro-vide skills development opportunities to the students of the University of Sheffield. We were snapped up early on by the South Yorkshire branch of the British Science Association, to broaden their programme of public engagement events.

Public egagement is incredibly important – it can help us communicate important new research relevent to the public and can inspire the next generation: the kids. In our remit is everything to do with science, engineering, technology and maths – even social sciences and the history and philosophy of science.

Our involvement has prepared us for life beyond our education and provided numerous career advancing opportunities, we really hope others can benefit from it as much as we have.
Half of our committee is moving on to new jobs (for example, Jenna will be starting her new job as media executive for the society of biology in the next few weeks), jobs that have been secured thanks to their involvement in Science Brainwaves. We would like new members to bring new expertise and enthusiasm, meaning we’ll continue to grow and meet our aims in the future. We are sure Science Brainwaves can become a dominant force in science communication in years to come and that the students of the University of Sheffield will benefit greatly from it’s success.

Just have a look through this blog, the rest of the website and our Facebook group – you’ll see the many other successful events we’ve put on, such as a debate about how science is covered in the media, iTRAK science-art exhibition with a robot that shows it’s “brainwaves” as it’s deciding what to look at, We’ve been science busking at the national Big Bang fair, we’ve taught kids who to extract DNA from strawberries in a cinema and a school, our summer lecture with Brook Magnanti on chance and luck, and most recently, we took along some simple experiments you can do with food to the Green Man festival. We even helped set up the first ever completely student-ran RTP/DDP module (PG cafe forum) for post-graduate students at the university to hone their presentation skills for non-specialists in a comfortable and relaxed environment (a pub!).

In the future we want to carry on doing this and more. We’ve forged strong partnerships with Museum Sheffield and the Thackray Museum in Leeds, so that we can offer varied and exciting experience and opportunities to our members. We have a number of existing and new roles that we need to fill, so whether you’re interested in writing for the website, or getting your teeth in to organising events, read on!


Currently running the website is myself, Michaela, and Paul, or expert web monkey who makes all our crazy ideas a reality. We’re hoping we can put together a “web team” that will come up with great ideas, develop them and implement them, as well as keep on top of the general maintenance of the website.

-2x web assistants – you don’t need to know html. You just need to be vaguely computer literate, enthusiastic and have some fantastic ideas! With me you’ll be helping organise podcasts, coming up with ideas and occasionally setting up blogs and other reports on the site. Theoretically you don’t even need to be based in Sheffield for this.

-A web developer – if the following makes sense to you then we want to hear from you:Experience in ASP.NET C# Web applications, with SQL database knowledge is required. CSS and Javascript are desirable but not essential. Knowledge of setting up Content Management would be useful. Technologies currently used: C#, ASP.NET, HTML, Javascript, JQuery, YUI, SQL, Source control in SVN.


And of course, we still want bloggers and reports, especially blogs based in physics, chemistry and engineering, so get in touch. If you’re a budding journalist and interested in joining our news team, please email


Organising events is usually done by small, dedicated teams, where each person takes on a specific role. Our next event that needs team members is the Christmas Lecture on Dec 17th on weird physics. You don’t have to have had any previous experience, nor be a physicist. All that is needed is enthusiasm and a thirst to learn. And, it’s something that looks absolutely fantastic on your CV.

Project Manager – oversee project, responsible for overall budget, ensure deadlines are met, responsible for applying for grants. Produce schedules, etc. Contact for Paul Stevenson, responsible for booking everything for him. Act as support for team members. Write event evaluation in consultation with the rest of the team  – Michaela

Media/marketing Liaison – produce press release, seeks opportunities to feature info about lecture in newspapers, magazines, radio, etc. Also ensures that info is included in event listings. Organise any interviews (e.g. setting up green room). Responsible for distribution of flyers in publics places (libraries, shops, etc, work with everyone on team to cover as much of Sheffield as possible). Investigate cost of local magazine ad space – contact forge press, etc. Responsible for implementing any internet marketing – posting on to local/relevant forums/facebook/twitter, etc. – Jen.

Schools/children’s university liaison – responsible for sending out information to schools (secondary schools) and Sheffield science teachers forum for attendance. Develop further material to be sent to schools with multimedia producer. Produce activity materials (if relevant, quizzes/competitions, must consider age-group attending – work with funding assistant to organise prizes). Contact Children’s University for attendance and to develop any further opportunities.

Multimedia producer – someone to produce, most importantly, posters to market the event, a podcast from the lecture and/or dvd to be sent out to schools/other interested parties. Previous experience not required, but would help. Work with media/marketing/schools liaisons to ensure deadline for mail outs and cohesive image.

Funding assistant/reception organisation – Working with project manager to make links with local businesses to organise materials for the reception (e.g., food and drink) and extra sponsorship. Set-up the reception. Work with university link to develop/organise a stall/poster/whatever to show-case Sheffield research for information/outreach purposes of physics department.

University/alumni Liaison – a link between university staff (gaining support from external/community relations office) and the alumni office to contact local alumni and provide a VIP experience for guests. Work with Project Manager and funding assistant to apply for alumni foundation funding and organise the VIP reception experience. Work with funding assistant to set up reception. – Martin

Reception assistants – 2 persons help on the night to organise and set up the reception, serve drinks/food if not provided by whatever catering we end up using.

Ushers – a group of 5 people to help attendees – two persons to be in charge of admissions (checking the guest list against people arriving), one person to show people to the upper tier of the lecture theatre, and two people on the lower tier – on person to be specifically in charge of the VIPs. After lecture responsible for herding attendees in to the reception in Mappin Hall. Don’t necessarily need to be separate people to the above roles, especially for reception assistants.

Jobs with names against them have already been taken, but if any of them tickle your fancy, drop us an email! We’ve got some meetings lined up for this one already, specifically about funding, so if you are interested, get in contact ASAP.

Museum’s/Science club Coordinator/team

Also up-and-coming is our involvement with Museums Sheffield. The weston park museum will be host to the beautiful games exhibition that will be bringing the science or sport to the public. We’ve been given the opportunity to run workshops alongside the exhibition, so if you have any ideas please get in touch. We also have links with the Thackray medical history museum in Leeds and our initial ideas are to produce a “medical marvels: head to to” series of lectures. We also want to start up a science club for schools that will hopefully be based in a museum.

Loads of poeple have already showed interest in this, so please do get involved – the more the merrier!


GEOSET is a tool for researchers to present their work in a virtual fashion to school and college kids all over the world. We’ve got a slot on the first wednesday of ever month for members, or otherwise, to go and record a presentation targetted to school/college kids. We need someone to help coordinate that with the PG Cafe forum folks so that we can get as many resources fo school kids on the web as possible. Again, if you’re interested, please get in touch.

Committee positions

So if any of that seems of interest to you, then please do get in touch – at the AGM we will be appointing the following positions:

Head of Events
Museum Coordinator
Science Club Coordinator
Website Assistants
Website Developers
University Liaison
Volunteer Coordinator
GEOSET liaison

Thank you for making it this far. If you have any questions at all about anything at all, then please do email us on We’re really looking forward to working with you. See you all soon!


on behalf of the Science Brainwave team.