Sheffield named top for public engagement in England

The University of Sheffield is celebrating after being rated top for public engagement in England at a prestigious awards event

The University of Sheffield’s Public Engagement and Impact team was Highly Commended in the Public Engagement and Advocacy category at the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) awards, for a hugely successful project called KrebsFest, which celebrated the life and work of Nobel Prize winning academic Sir Hans Krebs.

KrebsFest took place in Autumn 2015 and explored Krebs’ legacy through a series of public events and exhibitions. KrebsFest aimed to bring scientific research to the public through strong arts-science collaborations as well as communicating complex scientific messages into creative formats, to bring the unseen world to life and to challenge audience perceptions.

KrebsFest included nine collaborative projects, new arts commissions, an exhibition and events in Sheffield’s Winter Garden which included a giant 28 metre inflatable E.coli being unveiled, an exhibition in Western Bank Library, a large-scale public open night, a schools project challenging schoolchildren to make a film about what inspires them about science shown at a dedicated schools night, and three talks by Nobel Prize Winners and a launch.

Sir Hans Krebs was born in Hildesheim in northern Germany in 1900. He was Jewish and was forced to flee Germany in 1933 after being dismissed from his post at the University of Freiburg following Hitler’s rise to power. He came to England as a refugee and initially worked at the University of Cambridge before he took up a post at the University of Sheffield in 1935 where he worked for 19 years.

His discovery of the citric acid cycle, also known as the Krebs cycle, while working at the University of Sheffield, explains one of the most fundamental processes of life: the conversion of food into energy within a cell.

Krebsfest attracted a wide range of audiences from young children, the general public and people with a special interest in science with a total of 122,668 visitors. The public night was hugely popular and very successful in creating a contemporary science communication event which reached a diverse audience.

The nomination from the Public Engagement and Impact team, which sits within Research and Innovation Services at the University, was one of four entries shortlisted for the award and faced strong competition from other universities across the UK. The eventual winner was the University of Aberdeen.

Sarah Fulton, Director of Research and Innovation Services, said: “This nomination is a fantastic way to recognise how instrumental the team were in working with academics across the University to deliver KrebsFest to raise public awareness and understanding of Krebs’ work. The shortlisting alone was a worthy recognition of the hard work and commitment the team delivered to ensure a successful festival.’

For more info on KrebsFest: