X Close

UCL Public Engagement Blog



Introducing Ask the Experts: a new Schools Engagement project

By Caroline Francis, on 7 October 2020

Calling on UCL academic and professional staff to sign up to our new online Schools Engagement project ‘Ask the Expert’. This article has been written by STEP trainee, Caroline Francis.

‘Ask the Experts’ is an online project that aims to reconnect secondary school pupils with creative learning and help them discover more about different subjects studied at university. The project is being developed by Emma Bryant (Schools Engagement Manager) and myself, Caroline Francis (STEP trainee). We’re looking for UCL academic and professional staff to sign up to the project and offer up their expert knowledge to curious young minds.

The image shows Dr Daniil Nikitchiev in a laboratory coat smiling with two of his colleagues.

Introducing our first expert, Dr Daniil Nikitchiev (centre) a Bio-medical physicist working at the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering.

After six months of disrupted learning brought about by coronavirus, young people have returned back to school for the new academic year. Whilst students from east London schools will not be visiting us at the UCL campus this term, nor us them, we are very excited to announce a brand new online project that is 100% Covid-friendly.

Emma and I are developing a website where school pupils can find answers to their burning questions. These might be: why do we laugh? How heavy is a cloud? Can robots outsmart humans? These might be directed at one particular expert, or a group of experts. The answers will then be posted and shared on the website for others to see.

Selfie of Subhadra Das

Subhadra Das is a museum curator at UCL Culture where she uses museum objects to tell decolonial stories in engaging and affirming ways.

The project is not only about giving young people the chance to ask all sorts of exciting and inquisitive questions, but it is also an opportunity for them to find out about more about the types of things that are studied at UCL. Each of our expert’s will be listed with a biography and photograph so that the young people can find out more about their subject area and what interests them. These may well be subject areas that the students didn’t even know existed. The hope is that this will spark their curiosity and broaden their horizons around what it is possible to study at university.

Photograph of Luciano Rila with a rainbow moustache and-shirt with UCL branding in rainbow colours.

Luciano Rila is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Mathematics at UCL. He is an expert in image processing, information security and maths careers.

The response we have had from UCL academic and professional staff so far has been brilliant and we hope to continue widening the scope of skills, knowledge and experience within our cohort of experts with the more sign ups we receive.

If you work at UCL and are interested in taking part in the project, or would like to find out more information to share with your colleagues, please leave a comment below or get in touch by email.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 19 October.

Find out more about Schools Engagement on the UCL website, and read our blogs written by the brilliant students and staff who work on our projects.

2 Responses to “Introducing Ask the Experts: a new Schools Engagement project”

  • 1
    Ruth wrote on 7 October 2020:

    This sounds great!
    I run the comms for a research group in the Dept. of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and I would love some of our members to get involved with this. Are you able to provide a bit more info about the project like expected workload and time commitments. Are there any requirement for becoming an ‘expert’?
    Thanks so much,

  • 2
    Caroline Francis wrote on 8 October 2020:

    Hi Ruth,

    thank you for getting in touch! I will email you now with some more information around your queries.


Leave a Reply