Spotlight on Grants: Education and Outreach Grant

Issue: Engaging Microbiology

17 May 2022 article

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The Education and Outreach Grant is available to support relevant science teaching or promotion initiatives, or developments likely to lead to an improvement in the teaching of any aspect of microbiology.

Earlier this year, Dr Martin Khechara, University of Wolverhampton, UK, organised and ran his engagement project ‘Infection Infection: Time for Detection’ in the Mander Centre Community Hub, Wolverhampton.

The aim of the project was to provide free and accessible learning experiences to the local community in order to raise aspirations around STEM, and to provide an opportunity to relate microbiology to the real world.

© STEM Response Team A wide variety of resources were developed specially to support the learning journey through the interactive workshop and give those attending something to take away.

During the event, Martin and the STEM response team specifically encouraged conversations about microbes, microbiology and their application to society. Through this, they were able to explore how the NHS is able to identify and diagnose infectious diseases, with specific links to the COVID-19 crisis. In turn, this helped to reduce some of the misinformation or concerns held within the local community.

Martin said that “the real highlight of the project was being able to bring microbiology to the centre of our community and show how the care pathway for microbiology works to keep people safe. The whole project helped so much to develop my communication skills with the public and I would encourage members to apply as it gives such a valuable opportunity to be able to meet the people our work actually impacts on.

Since the project’s completion, Martin and his team have been able to “refine and resource what is a fantastic, hands-on experience to promote microbiology. We have now created a mobile version of ‘Infection, Infection: Time for Detection’ and plan to take it to schools, events and science festivals all over the country over the next two years.

Applications for the Education and Outreach Grant open twice a year, in January and June, with deadlines in April and October, respectively. To find out more about the wide range of grants available to support Microbiology Society members, visit the grants area of our website.

Image: As the Gram stain is such an important part of diagnostic microbiology everyone attending got the opportunity to look at and interpret stained samples of different bacterial organisms. STEM Response Team.