Pop up café to offer coffee and cake — with a side of science

03 Aug 2015 15:12:58.523

Visitors to a Nottingham café will be offered the chance to order something from a more unusual menu when they pop in for their coffee and cake fix later this month.

A pop up Research Café, organised by researchers at The University of Nottingham, will be running alongside the usual Café Bar at Nottingham Contemporary on Thursday August 20 and Friday August 21.

In addition to the usual selection of tempting treats, people will be offered a ‘menu’ of different studies for which researchers are seeking information, participants or general public participation.

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Research plays a huge role in advancing our knowledge, finding solutions to problems and improving the world in which we live. However, in many cases, the people carrying out the research cannot achieve results without the invaluable assistance of the volunteers who participate in their studies.

Many volunteers find that taking part in research studies can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The Research Café will offer members of the public direct access to researchers, the opportunity to find a study which is of interest to them and the chance to contribute to work which could potentially make a real difference to people’s lives.

The Research Café idea has been developed by Dr Ellen Townsend in the University’s School of Psychology and Professor Joanne Hort in the School of Biosciences.

Dr Townsend said: “Researchers at the university are very keen to engage with people about their research at all stages of the process, from designing the studies, collecting data and sharing the findings. We believe the pop-up café will be an ideal environment for this.”

Among the opportunities on the research ‘menu’ will be:

Drinking safely over 65. How can we design an effective health campaign for older adults? How to get involved with maternity research studies run by the University’s Maternal, Child and Public Health Research Group
A card sort task to increase understanding of the public understanding of self-harm
A questionnaire on how people cope with difficult and stressful situations incorporating experiences of people who self-harm or may have self-harmed in the past.
Search in natural images: Sometimes we can't find something, even though it’s right there in front of us. We want to know how best to help people locate the things they need, from keys, to more critical things like medical equipment
Studies on people’s food and drink preferences which will help develop our understanding of how people choose what they eat and drink 
The chance to experience the MIRAGE lab, equipment developed in the University’s School of Psychology which produces multisensory illusions and can help us understand how our brain makes sense of the information is receives from our bodies

There will also be public talks about research ranging from digital rights and how we protect our privacy online and the labelling required on food products to the use of wearable cameras to gather data in studies and how cartoons and stories are helping psychologists measure how well you can read minds

A selection of activities will also be available for children including face painting and a drawing competition, in addition to the chance to enjoy the other school holiday activities for children and families offered by Nottingham Contemporary.

The Research Café is running at Nottingham Contemporary on Weekday Cross in the City from 10am to 6pm on Thursday August 20 and Friday August 21. All activities are free and booking is not required.

For further information, see the Research Café website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/interact/index.aspx

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Ellen Townsend in the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 7305, ellen.townsend@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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