Family Friendly and Social Events at NDM
The Nuffield Department of Medicine is committed to providing a family friendly environment for its staff, students and researchers. In addition to actively supporting work/life balance, NDM also encourages the organisation of family friendly and social events within each of its Units, Centres and Institutes.
Successful family friendly events in the previous years have included family fun days (in Oxford and Overseas), research building open days, a summer school-holiday outing to Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, a family trip to the Edward Jenner Museum and a Celebration Reception for the ORCRB building’s five year anniversary. You can read about some of these past events below.
Regular social events include a Happy Hour at the WTCHG on a Friday and sporting activities such as Touch Rugby on a Monday at South Parks. For more information about upcoming events or social gathering opportunities, keep an eye on the NDM news pages, the NDM Newsletter and social mailouts.
The annual WTCHG Family Fun Day
The annual WTCHG Family Fun Day took place on Saturday 9th September, between 10am – 2pm. There was a BBQ, live music, inflatable entertainment and some science stalls too.
Planning an Event?
If you have any family friendly or social events planned, or have recently held an event or open day, we would love to hear from you. Please e-mail our Athena SWAN Coordinator – Athena.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outreach and public engagement
Our public engagement and outreach programmes are another way for families to get involved with what we do at NDM. Public engagement is a broad term for a number of activities aimed at sharing research with the public. It is an exchange of knowledge, allowing researchers to meet with the wider community, to interact, listen and learn about who might benefit from their research, and how their research might meet the needs of society. Public engagement is also a way of encouraging people to take an active interest in research.
To find out about upcoming events that you may be able to attend, such as science festivals in the local area, please see our Public Engagement website pages.
NDM support staff enjoyed an evening dinner at Balliol College, on Monday 12 December 2016. The dinner was arranged on behalf of the Head of Department, Professor Conlon and the Associate Head of Department, Darren Nash in recognition of the key roles provided by staff who support our researchers.
When it’s your job to discover and support research into new vaccines, there’s no better way to introduce your work to your family and friends than through a trip “back in time” to where it all began. So when it came time for the Old Road Campus Research Building NDM Units to plan their summer school-holiday outing, the historical home of Edward Jenner – the father of vaccination – was an obvious choice.
The Edward Jenner Museum, now known as “Dr Jenner’s House and Garden, the Birthplace of Vaccination”, was opened to the public in 1985, after many years as the local vicarage. Set among the rolling hills of Gloucestershire The Chantry was Edward Jenner’s home from 1785 until his death in 1823. It was here that Edward Jenner first took a sample of cowpox from a local milkmaid and inoculated his gardener’s son, James Phipps, with the pus – vaccinating him against smallpox. The museum houses an impressive exhibition of not only Jenner’s own artefacts – from his original surgical instruments, to the books that once laid upon his desk – it is also a shrine to the history and hurdles of vaccination, and the basis of it all: immunology.
Senthil Chinnakannan, a Postdoctoral Scientist from The Jenner Institute, really enjoyed the historical aspects of the day. After a scenic bus ride through the Cotswolds, the group of 40 ORCRB staff and their families and friends spent the day touring Jenner’s home, playing croquet on his lawn and picnicking in his sunny gardens. Following lunch, the group was also treated to a tour of Berkeley Castle, which backs on to Dr Jenner’s garden. The impressive castle, which dates back to the 11th Century, is still inhabited by descendants of its original owner Robert Fitzharding, and houses everything from suits of armour to Queen Elizabeth’s gilded quilt.
“Today was really interesting, the best part was visiting the home of Edward Jenner, and learning the history behind what we now know as vaccination, it was really exciting to see where it all started.”
Branch Administrator of the Ludwig Institute, Mark McDermott, bought along his wife Victoria and their two daughters, Isabelle and Olivia, who learnt a few “tricks of the trade” from the castle’s court jester.
“The ORCRB visit to the Jenner Institute and Berkeley Castle was a really fun experience. It was a pleasure to introduce my wife and children to my colleagues and to also meet their families, who I had heard so much about,” he said. “My little girls had a great time and are keen to again meet up with their new ‘friends’!”
Following on from the success of previous events, this year’s Old Road Campus Research Building NDM Units summer school-holiday outing was to Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.
On the 12th August 2014, scientists and their families travelled by coach to Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium. When the 24 adults and 21 children arrived at the centre they were then free to explore the wide variety of activities on offer over the two floors.
With over 100 hands-on exhibits that explain the fundamental principles of science and technology, there was plenty of fun to be had by everyone. Highlights included the science behind some Olympic sports, parachuting toy soldiers, mirror drawing, moving a ball using only your mind and making bubbles in different liquids.
Eneida Parizotto, a research assistant in the Jenner Institute said of the visit, “Our daughter Gabriela said it was the best ‘science day’ ever.”
There were also interactive science shows including the science of the seaside and a hair-raising demonstration of a Van der Graaffgenerator. Workshops were available during the day to make weather vane headbands and UV bracelets that change colour in sunlight.
After a couple of hours of playing with the activities on offer, it was time to catch a show in the planetarium. Peering up at the projected stars, families were taken on a trip of our solar system with each of the eight planets visited. It was also explained why Pluto is no longer a planet and how to identify planets in the sky. The show was full of fun facts including that on some planets it rains diamonds and that Uranus is full of methane, or as the presenter put it ‘fart gas’.
After the planetarium there was more time to explore the centre, catch a science show or visit the gift shop before taking the coach back to Oxford.
John Minogue, Logistics Manager for CCVTM said, “A great day, fun had by all.” This thought was echoed by Yihua Wang, a post-doctoral researcher in the Ludwig Institute, who said that the day was “Lots of fun! My daughter and I really enjoyed it.”
It has been five years since the unveiling of the Old Road Campus Research Building (ORCRB) – affectionately known as the “Green Building” for its sparkling emerald exterior. Home to around 300 staff and students, and several University Departments the ORCRB houses three of the Nuffield Department of Medicine’s largest Units, including: The Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research, The Structural Genomics Consortium, and The Jenner Institute.
The celebratory reception was held in March 2013 for all ORCRB staff, students and their families, to mark the building’s birthday, and to thank those who had contributed to ORCRB’s significant research output over the past five years.
The NDM’s Business Manager in the ORCRB, Gary Strickland, said the event was an opportunity for relatives, friends and family to see where their partners and colleagues work, and for staff and students to learn more about career development opportunities within the University. Guests were entertained and informed with presentations from the Oxford Learning Institute, scientific posters, an exhibition of the Old Road Campus site expansion, and NDM podcast screenings.
Zinaida Dedeic, a DPhil student in her third year at ORCRB, said she enjoyed the social aspect of the evening, as well as learning more about the campus site expansion. “The reception was a wonderful event,” she said. “I met and socialised with people working in the building and had a chance to interact with their families.”
“Also, it was great to learn about the expansion of the Old Road Campus. I am looking forward to other events that will give us an opportunity to socialise, and network, with people moving into the new buildings next door.”
The Nuffield Department of Medicine supports regular family friendly events in each of its Units, Centres and Institutes.