Academic Leads for Public Engagement

Academic leads for public engagement


At Heriot-Watt, we have appointed Academic Leads for Public Engagement, who work closely with the Engaged University steering group to deliver the strategy’s mission to 'inspire and understand the mutual needs of our global – local communities and provide measurable pathways to global impact through our pioneering research'. For more information about the leads and their areas of expertise, see their profiles below. 

Dr Michael Bell, EGIS

Based at the Orkney campus, Michael is interested in inclusive engagement with communities, embedding engagement in his research into sustainable fisheries. Michael's experiences both within and outside academia bring expertise in how effective communication can provide an evidence base for managers and policy makers or at finding solutions for a better world.

Dr Helen Bridle, EPS

Helen has a wealth of public engagement experience, from festivals to schools engagement, collaborating with a number of different external people and organisations. Helen was recently appointed as an EPSRC Engineering Engagement Champion, co-creating resources to showcase diversity of engineering to 3-7 year olds and families. 

Dr Heidi Burdett, EGIS 

Heidi has more than 10 years of experience in designing and delivering a variety of public engagement activities in environmental science, from public talks, science festival exhibits, regular interviews on international TV, radio and the web and as a Researcher in Residence at local schools. 

Dr Elma Charalampidou, EGIS

Elma has worked with diverse publics and different forms of engagement, developing and implementing initiatives that advance and deliver the engaged research strategy and advising on key strengths and opportunities. 

Dr Paul Dalgarno, EPS

Paul is deeply passionate about all forms of public engagement and outreach, with extensive background with a variety of outreach and engagement activities from public talks to science festivals, workshops, and school engagement.

Prof Alan Gow, SoSS

Alan has embedded public engagement throughout the life cycle of his research on brain ageing, from small community activities to larger national events. Within his department, Alan strives to create an environment that encourages people to do public engagement, and also to share and celebrate that activity.

Dr Maria Garraffa, SoSS

Maria is the leader of the Language across the life span lab, a hub for the promotion of the benefits of language learning. Her research has an international dimension supporting communities, schools and policy makers in developing strategies for promoting the learning of any languages, emphasising the effects on health and on social skills. She has extensive experience in engaging with a diverse audience.

Dr Aude le Guennec, SoTD

As a researcher in design anthropology with a background as a museum keeper, Aude's engagement with the public as users, as well as makers of their material environment is core to her academic practice. Specialising in children’s material culture, she has explored inclusive ways to engage with young people. She is interested in story-telling as a platform to facilitate the interactions with audiences of users, to encourage a reflection on their narratives, and to create from this dialogue. 

Prof Heather McGregor, SoSS

Heather is the Executive Dean of EBS, and is an experienced writer and broadcaster, including writing for the Financial Times for 17 years. She is also the founder of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which works to promote diversity in the communications industry. 

Dr Mary Stewart, SoSS

Mary has vast experience in engaging with our communities throughout the life cycle of research, to identify the research question, co-develop research, involve participants in the research project, consult the public and ask them to interact with what we have done, and inform and disseminate our research. 

Dr Beth Watts, EGIS

Beth has extensive experience of engaging directly with the public and via online avenues, educating and challenging the public and raising the quality of public and media debate. She is keen to maximise the capacity of Heriot-Watt staff to meaningfully contribute to public debate and social change.