STEM Connections: A model for empowering academics to deliver outreach by reducing barriers to engagement


STEM Outreach
communication skills
public engagement
academic confidence
community engagement

How to Cite

Jemmett, P., Cannon, C., Diebolt, M., & Low, M. (2024). STEM Connections: A model for empowering academics to deliver outreach by reducing barriers to engagement. UK and Ireland Engineering Education Research Network Conference Proceedings 2023.


STEM Connections worked with academic staff to develop their skills and confidence to communicate with any audience. Through creating a demonstration of their area of expertise and speaking with school-aged students, the academics hear a range of perspectives and repeatedly practice pitching their presentations. This project aimed to develop staff, engage the public, and work in partnership with local cultural institutions – in this case CV Life. Training has been provided by third-party organisations, by the project team and by the partner institution in both years.


Over two years, the project has worked with 23 academic members of staff across 17 different areas of research. Events have been run with 19 schools, either within those schools or at Coventry Transport Museum, reaching a total of 944 students with high-quality interactions. As of January 2024, the online resources have received over 36,000 views. Demonstrations have been used outside of the STEM Connections project for interactions with visitors, VIPs, funding bodies, and also filmed by TV crews for media work. Several staff on the project have mentioned STEM Connections in promotion cases and award nominations. Produced materials have complimented academic teaching and have been used to explain concepts more effectively during lectures. All the project resources and staff involved can be found at


The project targeted 5 key elements of outreach that are challenging for academics and may make engagement more difficult for them. This paper reflects on those challenges and how the project worked to reduce the barriers to engagement.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Phil Jemmett, Caroline Cannon, Marie Diebolt, Margaret Low


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