I’m a scientist… I’m an engineer…

I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer are X Factor style competitions for scientists and engineers, where students are the judges. Scientists and engineers put up a profile on the website, answer questions and have live online text-based chats with school science students across the UK. Students vote and the winning scientist gets £500 to spend on a public engagement project.

Everything happens on the web, making the project very accessible both to scientists and engineers and to the students: I’m a scientist and I’m an engineer prioritise schools that are under-served due to being geographically remote.

Each event runs over 2 weeks in March, June, and November. There will be around an hour of live text chats each day and an hour answering questions.

I’m a scientist… and I’m an engineer… are open to people from academia (from PhD students to professors) and people with relevant experience in industry.

Advice from RSS members

In June 2017, RSS members Elizabeth Buckingham-Jeffrey and Christl Donnelly both participated in the Epidemic zone of I'm a Scientist. Elizabeth won the zone, receiving a £500 grant. She writes:

“In total, I spent around 1 hour to 1.5 hours working on I’m A Scientist each day. However, it was very flexible and I could have spent less time if I had other commitments.

Some of the questions from the students were very insightful. For example, one year 8 student (13 year old) asked me if I compare my results with the results of other scientists. I was really impressed with this and it shows an appreciation of how research works and the uncertainty in results.

Of course, there were also fun questions such as asking about my favourite TV shows. One of the aims of I’m A Scientist is for students to realise that scientists are real people too and to bring us out of the ‘ivory tower’.

I really enjoyed taking part in I’m A Scientist. I hope I managed to convey my enthusiasm for science and how maths can be used to save lives. It was fascinating for me to see what topics really engaged the students.”

How to get involved

You can apply to take part at any time by completing the short form on either the I'm a Scientist and I'm an Engineer websites.

When you apply you’ll be asked to fill in a one-sentence summary of your work. — make this interesting and understandable to 13/14 year olds, as a panel of students will then select the researchers to take part.