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Internal News - 23 January 2009

“I’m a scientist, get me out of here” project looking for scientists

Organisers of a national competition are on the look out for scientists to compete with each other for votes in an online interactive debate with school students.

Called ‘I’m a scientist, get me out of here!’, and based on the popular TV show idea, this two-week event gives the opportunity for secondary school students from across the UK to “meet” real scientists via live online chat and vote for the scientist they think should win.

The scientist with the least vote gets evicted, until only one is left to be declared the winner.

The event was successfully launched last summer and was won by Dr Ian Walker of the University’s Department of Psychology. Competing against five scientists from industry and other universities, Dr Walker scooped the £500 prize to help communicate his work.

He said: “I was delighted and very surprised to win as I was up against cancer scientists who I thought would be considered more worthy. It shows there is clearly a thirst amongst young people for psychology as they were really fascinated by the subject.”

University Press Officer, Dr Vicky Just, also took part in last year's event whilst working as a biochemist at the University of Bristol. She said: "The online chat format allows students to ask questions they might not ask if they were face-to-face with the scientist in a classroom, from questions on ethical implications of their research to what music they listen to.

"The format also allows scientists to engage with the public without even leaving the lab."

The ‘I’m a Scientist’ team is hosting this year’s event in March to coincide with National Science & Engineering Week.

Scientists taking part would have to post an explanation of their work online, answer questions on the website, and be available for a number of live chat sessions throughout the fortnight.

For more information, please visit the website (see related links) or contact Sophia Collins.