Who are we?
MAGPIE stands for Modelling Advisory Group Public Involvement and Engagement.
We are a group of people from all sorts of backgrounds with a wide range of skills and experiences. What we have in common is a passion for public involvement in science and research.
We support research by:
- Working with researchers to develop appropriate public engagement and involvement opportunities for their research projects
- Providing a fresh perspective and encourage researchers to think about the societal problems their research is addressing
- Commenting on language used in public facing communications, and ensure that plain English is used where necessary
- Acting as steering group members for TREE
- Reviewing grant applications including lay summaries
- Helping researchers design public engagement events. These have included creative activities such as a theatre production
- Helping prepare for public presentations or outreach activities
- Facilitating engagement with specific non-academic communities, for example local schools and colleges, patient groups, community groups, societies and the University of the Third Age
- Helping researchers to make use of social media in communicating with the public
How can I learn more or get involved?
If you are interested in joining MAGPIE or learning more about our public engagement work, please contact Communities Engagement Manager, Rachel Etherington: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are always interested in hearing from members of the public to get involved with Centre staff to inform a range of activities including. We are not asking for any specific expertise other than your enthusiasm to be involved.
There are opportunities to get involved in person, via email or phone.
We will offer you a ‘thank you payment’ for your involvement in MAGPIE: £30 for half day involvement/ meeting; £60 for full day involvement/ meeting.
When you participate in meetings online (on Zoom) we will supplement the above with an extra £5; this is to cover your telephone or internet connection to join meetings remotely, and/or printing out papers at home that have been sent via email.
When you attend meetings at the University of Exeter campus, we will reimburse reasonable travel expenses.
Sometimes, in between attending meetings, we may ask you to review some documents or website content. For this type of one-off remote work we will offer you a £10 ‘thank you payment’.
John Davidson joined the Exeter University MAGPIEs in January 2019. He has taken part in many University public engagement consultations and presentations, and supported four Seedcorn programmes and attended events in person and on zoom. John is an experienced teacher, mentor and educational consultant whose current educational work includes authoring articles and website materials, tutoring, mentoring and giving talks on geographical, historical and scientific subjects to both adult audiences and schools. John was a member of a secondary school leadership team for twenty years until 2018, contributing to the strategic development programme with responsibilities for staff development, marketing and school inspections.
Until May 2016, Jenny was an Associate Professor at Bournemouth University (Centre for Excellence in Media Practice – in research on learning). She now works with the University as a Visiting Fellow. She continues also to work freelance, running workshops and projects. She has worked in higher education and professional development for 20 years and, particularly in the last fifteen years has run large numbers of workshops in the UK and abroad on reflection, programme structure (eg writing learning outcomes), learning journals, critical thinking, academic assertiveness, assessment and student learning and the uses of story in education (etc). Most of the workshops relate to the subject matter of her books. Jenny has a UK National Teaching Fellowship (2006). Within and outside of academic contexts, Jenny works as an oral storyteller.
Jenny has many publications including 10 books most of which are published by Routledge and Routledge Falmer, London. They include:
- Reflection in Learning and Professional Development (1999a)
- Learning Journals, a handbook for students, academics and professional development (1999) (2nd edition in 2006 – see below)
- Improving the Impact of Short Courses and Workshops (2001)
- A Module and Programme Development Handbook, 2002)
- A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning (2004)
- Learning Journals: a handbook for reflective practice and professional development, (2006 - with much new material)
- Critical Thinking, an exploration in theory and practice’ (2008)
- Achieving Success through Academic Assertiveness: real life strategies for today’s students (2009). This is a book that is written directly for students (eg undergraduates, professional development, PDP etc).
- ‘Using Story in Higher Education and Professional Development’.
I am a retired GP living in Lympstone. I left school (Chesterfield Grammar) on my 16th birthday and worked for the NCB as an industrial chemist. During my National Service, I was an electronics technician working on navigation and bombing systems in the Vulcan aircraft. I became a senior NCO and eventually served 9 years in the RAF. During my service I studied for A levels and 2 Higher National Certificates, in Applied Physics and in electrical engineering. I also taught O level Physics at RAF Scampton education centre. On my discharge I was accepted by St John’s College Cambridge where I received an MA in Medical Sciences, after which I completed my clinical studies at Sheffield University Medical School. After the usual hospital service, I went into General Practice in Lincolnshire. In 2003, my wife and I moved to Devon and I worked as a GP in Okehampton. I retired in 2010. After retiring, I have been privileged to assist my son, who is a reader in molecular biology at Kent University, in preparation of grant applications and writing papers.
Belinda was a nurse for 40 years mostly working with cancer and palliative care patients. Her last appointment, before retiring 4 years ago, was with a cancer charity, where she worked as a Well Being Advisor with patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment.
Relocating to East Devon from London, she swapped the busy Piccadilly Line for an area of outstanding beauty and she has not looked back, especially in light of the past 2 years living through the pandemic.
Whilst attending a Pint of Science evening in Sidmouth, Belinda first heard about MAGPIE’s and has since greatly enjoyed her involvement & the having the opportunity of seeing exciting projects evolving & developing.
Angela has lived and worked (as a primary school teacher) in East Devon all of her adult life. Although she does not have a medical background, she has a fascination for medical knowledge and alternative approaches. She is interested in all aspects of patients wellbeing, including emotional health and lifestyle choices, and how this contributes towards the healing process. Angela is particularly interested in epilepsy, as a close relative suffered with seizures.
After a brief hiatus during the covid lockdown, Simon rejoins the MAGPIE team having been involved since 2017. As a person with several co-morbid health conditions himself, Simon’s knowledge is largely based on his own experiences as a patient in healthcare, as well as experiences as a staff member for a Care company, working in domiciliary complex care.
Simon was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1996 and now works full time for leading epilepsy charity Epilepsy Action, creating, supporting, and running front line support services for people affected by epilepsy. Simon is also a member of the PPI Advisory board for the Exeter Academy of Nursing’s Masters in Nursing Degree course and a member of the advisory panel for the EPSRC funded SMQB (Systems Modelling & Quantitative Biomedicine) at University of Birmingham
Simon’s areas of experience are epilepsy, acquired brain injury, spinal injury, and care. Simon lives with multiple health conditions and is passionate about ensuring patient involvement is real, meaningful and thorough, to ensure the needs of the patient are always central to the development of healthcare projects.
Among Simon’s past projects are several rounds of Seed-corn Incubator events, both in Exeter and Birmingham, the spin-out company Neuronostics, working to improve diagnostic and prognostic outcomes for people with epilepsy, including being public co-applicant on several rounds of NIHR funding, and a novel theatre piece to explain epileptiform activity in the brain during a seizure – trailer available here.
Working as a MAGPIE is both hugely rewarding and, at the same time, amazingly educational. We work on projects across all areas of healthcare and that allows us to learn more about research going on right now, whilst also giving our feedback, advice and suggestions. One of our key focuses is to make sure that researchers keep the end patient group at the heart of everything they do - it has to be relevant to the people they hope to help. I started out as a MAGPIE because I had an interest in one particular health condition and the research into that condition but I’ve found the whole process so rewarding and enlightening I have continued to work with the TREE and have joined several Incubator events to help shape future research. I’ll continue in this role as long as I can as it is a reciprocal relationship - it becomes more of a collaborative process than a partnership. We become invested in these projects and it’s great watching them come to fruition and deliver results that then go on to inform further research.
What I love about working as a MAGPIE is the variety. I’ve worked with numerous academics, from those still doing their PhDs to senior profs. I’ve helped think about what direction research might take;reviewed it as it’s ongoing; discussed a multitude of opportunities for wide-ranging public involvement in projects; helped interview for new research fellows; given feedback and advice on using clear lay language in both spoken & written communication; been part of a steering group; been invited to summer parties – and felt valued throughout it all. And I’ve probably forgotten some of the things I’ve done!
The University of Exeter is a centre of excellence and world leader of research with ground-breaking work being done in several areas including life sciences and medicine. This work is very relevant to everyday life, from medical innovations to climate change. The MAGPIEs provide a valued opportunity for non-specialists like myself to be involved in public engagement, to provide advice on different ways to inform the general public about research work and outcomes. The MAGPIEs is also a means of providing feedback to researchers, a forum for offering ideas for further work and community engagement, and a way to assist with decision making. As MAGPIEs, we provide informed views on funding applications, community engagement events and involvement of the public in research.