Science Engagement Fellows 2023-2024
We are delighted to introduce our two new Science Engagement Fellows who started working with the Society in June this year. The overarching purpose of the part-time Fellowship programme is to support delivery of some of our strategic objectives through interdisciplinary activities and the communication of the science to a broad audience.
“Hi, I’m Matt and I’m a research fellow at the University of Exeter. My research is part of the WTW Research Network and focuses on European windstorms and using statistical techniques to understand variability and extremes in current and future climates. Understanding extreme weather events and the risk they pose is of vital importance to the insurance industry and the wider financial sector. As one of RMetS’ Science Engagement Fellows, I’m really excited to further develop collaborations and interaction with researchers and professionals in this sector over the next year!”
“Hello! I’m Regan, a PhD student at the University of Exeter. I investigate how the rapidly changing Arctic climate may affect winter extremes over places like the UK. When I’m not sitting behind a laptop, you can find me sharing science with the public around Exeter and beyond. As such, I’m excited to help the Society grow their engagement with and support for young people interested in weather and climate – they are the future of the field! So far, I have worked with the Society on improving support for early careers, and on reinvigorating the Student Ambassador scheme.”
Regan and Matt will work alongside Matthew Wright (Energy Science Engagement Fellow) who has continued his part-time Fellowship for another 12 months. You can read Matthew’s reflections on his first year as a Science Engagement Fellow below.
Reflections on first year as a Science Engagement Fellow
“My first year as a Science Engagement Fellow has gone incredibly quickly and looking back, I can’t believe how much we have managed to achieve. I have responsibility for the energy sector, project managing RMetS’ engagement with stakeholders across the industry, and convening the new Energy Special Interest Group (SIG). Working with the Society for one day a week alongside my PhD, I’ve really enjoyed exploring a slightly different side to weather and climate. I am also very happy to be staying on for another year!
Lots has been achieved since I started in June 2022. Whilst the Society had engaged with some energy sector stakeholders before, it was rather ad-hoc, so we had to build relationships with new organisations and individuals to kick-start our activities. Many of the initial people we reached out to became valued members of the SIG, and helped spread the word to colleagues across the energy sector. It’s been brilliant to meet some new people, who use weather and climate for varied applications, and have a different perspective to operational forecasters and researchers.
Everyone at the RMetS has been very welcoming and helpful - especially Sharon and Hannah, who I have worked extremely closely with. It was also lovely to have a team of three Science Engagement Fellows (Daniel Skinner, the 2022-2023 Youth and Early Careers Fellow, and Hannah Bloomfield, the 2022-2023 Insurance Sector Fellow) to bounce ideas off and muddle through the process of setting up three new SIGs!
I’ve managed to try a lot of new things – like chairing SIG meetings and writing articles for the public – and develop a lot of new skills, including preparing a corporate partnership proposal and keeping a mailing list engaged. The highlight has been hosting the Seasonal Forecasts and Their Use in the Energy Sector event last November, when we brought representatives from the energy sector together with the Met Office to discuss the upcoming winter’s seasonal forecast.
One of the hardest things has been navigating the many facets of the energy sector and the variety of different timescales they are interested in. We need to ensure that the events we run and blogs we produce are relevant to as many people as possible, but also specific enough to be useful. This has been a difficult balance to strike, and something we are continually working on. It’s been really helpful to keep close relationships with key stakeholders to get their opinions on our ideas.
There are lots more exciting things coming up, including a flagship Energy, Weather and Climate Forum in October (which is taking up a lot of my time at the moment!) and another iteration of the seasonal forecasting event in November. The Energy SIG is going strong, and I look forward to continuing to oversee its development – and RMetS’ wider engagement with the energy sector – over the next year.”