Café culture gets to the heart of scientific research

20 Mar 2017 15:34:32.830

PA 51/17

Pop-Up Research Café - Café Connect

10am to 5pm Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March 2017

Nottingham Contemporary,Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB

The scientists are back — with news on how the public is helping to shape their research and ready to set some new challenges for members of the public. The interdisciplinary team of experts from The University of Nottingham are returning to the Nottingham Contemporary with their pop up research café — Café Connect on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 of March 2017.

After last October’s event members of the public are already helping to shape the design of new interventions for self harm. Drawing on personal experiences they are helping psychologists understand the key transitions that led them to self harm. Images from last October’s event can be found here.

Ellen Townsend, Professor of Psychology, said: “This is an amazing way to do research. We are taking public engagement all the way through the research process. With the help of the public we are starting to understand how self harm evolves and the thoughts, feelings, events and behaviours that led to self harm. We couldn’t do that without our focus groups and volunteers who joined us after attending last year’s research café.”

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The two day research café is all about offering members of the public — adults of all ages and from all walks of life — the chance to take part in and help make research more relevant.

Focus on health-related research

The event, funded by a Wellcome Trust’s People Award, is the second in a series of four events. At the first Café Connect event, held at the Nottingham Contemporary in October last year, the team explored what members of the public thought were the important issues in these areas.

This time the focus is on three important health-related areas; public perceptions and lived experience of self-harm, adult drinking and food choice decisions.

The story so far

Joanne Hort SABMiller Professor of Sensory Science, in the School of Biosciences, said “These research cafes allow us to invite members of the public to come along and take an active part in our research. By connecting with members of the public this will result in more useful and meaningful research.

“During a previous event members of the public helped us design a study about food choice behaviour which we will be carrying out in the Café this time."

The research café project is led by Interact — a cross disciplinary team investigating of many aspects of human behaviour and their consequences on health and wellbeing. It combines on campus research facilities with on the road events to enable researchers to investigate human behaviour in both controlled and real world environments. The café also provides opportunity for the public to engage at all stages of the research process.

Katy Jones, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology in the Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, said: “The pilot of Café Connect helped us develop our research topic of drinking in later life. The second event allowed us to continue our conversations with the public about where this research should go next.

“This time I would like to speak to some more people about how drinking changes over time to see whether this matches with what people have told us so far. I’d also like to get some insight into what research older adults think we should be doing in this area so that we can plan some more studies.”

Ellen Townsend, Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology, said “The event last October helped us find out what the public believes are the important issues in our research. With the help of focus group volunteers who signed up at the last event in October we have developed these ideas. Now we are inviting the public to get involved in this next stage of our research.”

Want more information?

For more details about the focus groups go to the Café Connect Facebook page CafeConnectUoN.  More information about Café Connect is available here.

The next Café Connect — the research café — will be held at the Nottingham Contemporary on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March from 10am to 5pm both days.

— Ends —

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Professor Joanne Hort in the School of Biosciences at The University of Nottingham,; or Professor Ellen Townsend in the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham,
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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