Physics Outreach Officer

University of Hertfordshire

Direct Entry Job 3 years Hatfield, UK

Uploaded 7 Mar 2019

Job Description

In partnership with the Ogden Trust and South East Physics Network (SEPnet), the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics seeks to appoint an Outreach Officer to facilitate our outreach and public engagement (O&PE) agenda. You will have a passion for sharing the wonder of the Universe to inspire enquiring minds, and ambition to use STEM research and education to change lives for the better in the communities of our region and beyond. You will draw on previous experience of organising and delivering outreach, public engagement and/or educational activities to provide operational leadership of our O&PE strategy. The postholder will coordinate, organise and promote the outreach activities of PAM towards: 

  • schools (both primary and secondary),
  • industry, 
  • the general public

The following is a list of specific duties and responsibilities.

  • In cooperation with the strategic Chair of the PAM Outreach and Public Engagement Network (OPEN), exercise operational leadership of outreach and public engagement in the School, ensuring quality and effectiveness are at the centre of all activities.
  • Coordinate, organise and promote the outreach activities of PAM towards: 
    • schools (both primary and secondary),
    • industry, 
    • the general public 
  • Work with academic colleagues and professional staff, including in the University’s Outreach and Widening Participation group and Marketing and Communications team, to develop, organise, promote, deliver and evaluate the outreach and public engagement programme. While naturally diverse, outreach and public engagement activities will include: 
    • promoting Physics to students in schools and colleges, especially through the Girls in Physics initiative, 
    • promoting the take-up of Physics at A level and beyond to degree level, e.g. through careers events and activities, 
    • promoting public engagement with PAM research, 
    • fulfilling supporting the impact requirements of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), 
    • Carrying out repeat interventions with groups of disadvantaged students, 
    • Supporting teachers with their physics knowledge. 
  • Develop and maintain a range of outreach and marketing materials, including an outreach webpage 
  • Maintain and use high-value technical equipment including mobile planetariums and projectors. 
  • Liaise with external partners including: 
    • the Ogden Trust in delivery of CPD for teachers. 
    • The Ogden Outreach Officers and SEPnet Outreach Officers in Physics Departments of other universities, and other partner institutions, particularly Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, to undertake joint outreach, share best practice and attend their meetings. This includes participating in the SEPnet GCSE outreach programme supporting the teaching of Physics at GCSE level. 
    • schools, particularly in Hertfordshire and in the neighbouring region, and local authorities to identify outreach needs, promote physics and the physics outreach work – especially girls in physics – and acquire and maintain a detailed knowledge of pre-HE science developments, including curriculum and qualification changes, in order to maximise impact and effectiveness of outreach activities, and to coordinate work experience undertaken by school students within PAM. 
    • National and regional media outlets 
    • Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd and other partners in the Consortium of Universities for Goonhilly Astronomy, in the development of joint public engagement. 
  • Apply for grants (e.g. from the Science & Technology Funding Council) and secure other (e.g. commercial) funding streams to support outreach programmes.
  • Provide training for undergraduate and postgraduate students who will assist in the delivery of outreach and encourage them to become STEM ambassadors. 
  • Ensure there is an effective mechanism for obtaining feedback from events and, in particular, achieving and monitoring impact, both short-term and long-term. 
  • Develop regional outreach programmes within SEPnet, working with Physics outreach officers at SEPnet partner institutions, coordinated by the SEPnet Director of Outreach. 
  • Liaise with external bodies, especially the Institute of Physics, and actively participate in other networks and programmes to promote Physics. 
  • Represent the University of Hertfordshire at external events.

Person Specification

E (essential) and D (desirable)

Qualifications and Knowledge: 

  • BSc (Hons) or equivalent/higher degree in physics and/or astronomy E
  • PhD in physics/astronomy (or equivalent relevant experience) D
  • Evidenced engagement with current physics and/or astronomy E


  • Experience organising and delivering outreach or public engagement projects in science E
  • Experience in education via schools, museums or similar D
  • Conducting outreach with young people D

Planning and Organising: 

  • Excellent organisational and time management skills E
  • Experience organising/managing a team of co-workers E

Problem Solving and Initiative: 

  • Ability to use initiative and exercise autonomy to solve problems effectively E

Management and Teamwork: 

  • Ability to work well as part of a team, ideally in outreach/public engagement E

Communicating and Influencing: 

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills E
  • Presentation skills:
  • Excellent presentation skills adaptable to diverse audiences E

Other Skills and Behaviours: 

  • Good IT skills including web authoring E
  • Ability to travel extensively within the UK, and when needed work long hours during weekends and evenings E
  • Ability to drive within the UK E
  • Active membership of the IoP or RAS D

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