'I'm a scientist - get me out of here!'
Peter Francis, Senior Lecturer in Sport, Health and Rehabilitation Science at Leeds Beckett, will be hoping to emulate the success of his colleague and 2014 champion, Katie Pickering, when he takes part in the X Factor style science competition where UK secondary school students are the judges.
Supported by the Wellcome Trust (www.wellcome.ac.uk/), the competition, in its fourth year, is a free, online event where 9-18 year old students from across the UK get to probe the scientists via fast-paced, text-based, live chats.
The premise of the competition is simple. There are 8 zones; 4 themed, 4 general science. Within each zone sits five scientists from similar fields of research. Over the course of two weeks, the students challenge the scientists by asking them science-based questions. Dependant on their answers, they then vote for the scientist who has informed, educated and entertained them the most, and after a process of elimination, the scientist in each zone with the most votes is crowned the winner and awarded a prize fund of £500 to communicate their work with the public.
Peter said: “I am really excited to be taking part in ‘I’m a scientist - Get me out of here’. To be given the opportunity to engage with, and hopefully inspire, the next generation of scientists, in such a fun way, is great.
“Because my specialist area is physical therapy and exercise science, I will be taking part in the Ageing Zone.”
To compete, the scientists must first fill in a ‘fun’ online profile form which details their work, research areas and offers a glimpse into their personal lives, Peter explained: “The questionnaire was divided into four areas: me and my work; my typical day; what I would do with the money; and an informal interview which included questions like ‘what’s your favourite food?’ and ‘were you ever in trouble at school?’ The idea is that the students get to know us a little better before they ask questions and maybe ask ones that are more suited to our specific areas.” Peter’s profile can be viewed here http://ageingn15.imascientist.org.uk/profile/peterfrancis/
The competition runs from Monday 9 November to Friday 20 November (registration for November's competition has closed but teachers are encouraged to register for future events at http://imascientist.org.uk/teachers.)
Peter added: “If I was to win the competition, and hopefully I will! I would use the money to fund a community engagement event at the University to showcase our students work.”
Earlier this year Peter was appointed as Team Manager for Athletics Ireland at the 2015 European Athletics Junior Championships in Sweden.
In 2014 Leeds Beckett research student Katie Pickering triumphed in the Body Zone of the 'I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here' competition, relating to science of health and tackling obesity, which was sponsored by the Physiological Society.