Professor Lord Robert Winston is to take on the newly created role, Professor of Science and Society, at Imperial College London. The chair will focus on developing paths for better engagement between scientists and the public through a range of initiatives.
The programme over the next five years will include conducting research into the most effective methods of science engagement and evaluating its impact.
Prof Winston said: ‘It is vital for scientists to be able to talk about our research. We need to encourage more students to recognise the importance of this and be able to talk about their work and make it relevant to as many people as possible. This will also have the benefit of stimulating thinking about impact of scientific work on society in general.’
The role will also include helping to expand Imperial’s wide range of outreach activities, establishing a dedicated schools laboratory and seminar facility based at the College to give pupils and teachers experience of hands-on science in areas such as DNA analysis and robotics.
He added: ‘Giving young people the chance to get involved in practical work in a scientific environment is the key to inspiring them to see science as exciting.’
It is hoped that the role will help to push forward Imperial’s engagement with the Exhibition Road Cultural Group and aim to recreate South Kensington as major centre of interaction between science and the arts.