As part of this year’s Oxford Open Doors event on the 14th and 15th of September 2013, the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) held two successful outreach events at Magdalen College and the Old Road Campus.
Oxford Open Doors is an annual weekend event, run by The Oxford Preservation Trust, which encourages locals and visitors to discover and learn more about the city of dreaming spires. This year’s event was a celebration of Oxford’s famous motor manufacturer Sir William Morris, also known as Lord Nuffield – a substantial benefactor to medical research in Oxfordshire, and the namesake of the Nuffield Department of Medicine.
Over the course of the weekend researchers and NDMS staff led a total of eight guided walking tours of the Old Road Campus, and the newly opened NDM Research Building, as well as a thriving mini-science fair in the grounds of beautiful Magdalen College.
Daniel Ebner, Group Leader for the Target Discovery Institute, volunteered as an Old Road Campus tour guide and really enjoyed the experience.
“Because we’re mostly funded by the public – we receive government money and charitable donations to do what we do – it’s really important to us as scientists to have the opportunity to engage with our neighbours, and show people what we’re doing,” Daniel said. “The Oxford Open Doors weekend is a great way for us to engage with the community and show the public what we’re doing, and how their support can help us make an impact.”
The bustling mini-science fair, held under St Swithun’s Tower at Magdalen College was open to the almost 7,000 visitors who toured through the gates of the College over the two days.
The event gave visitors a chance to learn more about the Department, to meet researchers, play games, and to find out about the diverse scientific fields NDM supports, in a hands-on, interactive, and unintimidating atmosphere. Supported by enthusiastic volunteer researchers and staff from the Structural Genomics Consortium, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the Ludwig Institute, the Jenner Institute, and NDM Strategic, the weekend was a great success. Georgina Berridge from the Structural Genomics Consortium was thrilled with how interested the general public was.
“I’ve never done any public engagement before, I expected that it would be busy and fun, but it was busier and more fun than I expected,” Georgina said. “I really enjoyed meeting the public and chatting to them about all sorts of things. It was great to see that people really do care and are genuinely interested in what we do.”