Enhance researcher’s learning in I’m a Scientist

For years we’ve heard from scientists, particular those near the start of their career, that taking part in I’m a Scientist was effective experiential learning – ‘on the job’ training for communication skills and  a ‘crash course in scicomm’ and public engagement.

Academy Zone is designed to help scientists take full advantage of this learning experience. It gives researchers a personal space to reflect on their engagement as it’s happening (a key part of learning theory) during I’m a Scientist, improving the quality of the future engagement activities.


It was a great opportunity to really think about what I was getting from the event… I think without Academy Zone I wouldn’t have actually sat down and thought about the various types of outreach and the pros/cons of each!

PhD researcher


…students were asking questions that weren’t directly related to my work, so initially I kept quiet, but then talking about it with Hannah and the other scientists, and reflecting on the Academy Zone questions made me consider my work in terms of ‘social influence’

PhD researcher

The zone includes:

  • Engagement in online reflection with peers and facilitators
  • Building awareness of effective public engagement practice
  • Personal development of communication skills

Read more about benefits for researchers in the June 2019 zone evaluation report.

Get in touch with shane@mangorol.la to discuss access to Academy Zone for your Early Career Researchers alongside their participation in I’m a Scientist.

Here’s how you as an Early Career Researcher an use Academy Zone to boost your personal development when taking part in IAS:

Connect with your peers

There’s a group of early career researchers in Academy Zone, all taking part in IAS alongside you:

  • Share your experiences from the zones in the Academy Chat
  • Swap tips for taking on the students’ questions
  • Learn from and comment on each other’s ASK answers

And generally enjoy meeting people from a huge range of disciplines going through the same thing for two weeks.

Supported learning

Dr Hannah Little, UWE science communication lecturer (and past IAS alumna!) will be online to provide feedback and advice throughout the zone- and is also on hand in the Live Chats to offer a sympathetic keyboard.

Answer six ASK questions

Every couple of days during the IAS event, you’ll receive a short ASK question to answer in the Academy Zone. This could be based on your experience of IAS that day or material related to topics such as Science Capital and the Engage Framework from NCCPE. It will include links to useful resources and material to help your learning and inform your answers.

Resource Library

Use the Library section of the Academy Zone to find all the currently available resources related to the ASK questions.

These links have been curated by IAS and UWE Science Communication lecturer Dr Hannah Little to give you more info about best practice, provoke reflection around your own engagement and provide context on current thinking in public engagement.

Your space

No students, teachers, or other scientists not given places in Academy Zone can see what you write, either in ASK section or in Live Chats.

Evidence your development

Complete the Academy Zone by answering all six ASK questions. After the event you’ll be presented with a certificate evidencing your development- useful for demonstrating the effort you’ve put into your CPD as a researcher. You also receive a log containing all your answers to questions in the zone as evidence of your learning.