Virtual Reality Prosthetics Evaluation

Client: Sheffield Hallam University

Start date: January 2016

end date: November 2017


Virtual Reality Prosthetics, Body and Mind was an exhibition co-developed by a multi-disciplinary group from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and young people from Sheffield UTC working with local primary schools. The exhibition had its origins in a multidisciplinary project that used virtual reality (VR) as a more comfortable way for people with robotic upper limb prosthetics to learn to use their prosthetic arms.

The main aims of the exhibition were to:

  • Engage with audiences who would not normally go to a science exhibition
  • Create exhibits that will be inclusive and accessible to all
  • Increase understanding of:
    • Joint physiology and neural connections
    • Prosthetics
    • Lived experience of limb loss
    • Ethical issues associated with limb loss

Our Approach

We used a mixed methods approach to explore the effectiveness of the exhibition in achieving its aims. As well as using observation and questionnaires, we developed a range of interactive evaluative tools to ensure participation in the evaluation was as accessible as possible and to enable wider data collection in a manner that was satisfying for the participant.


Outputs included formal reports containing both formative and summative insights, as well as creation of both traditional and tactile evaluation tools.

Great Exhibition Road Festival 2019 Evaluation

Client: Imperial College London

Start date: February 2019

end date: September 2019


The Great Exhibition Road Festival (GERF) 2019 takes Imperial College’s annual festival and partners with 21 leading institutions, museums, and organisations in the area of South Kensington known as Albertopolis. The festival invokes the spirit of the first Great Exhibition in 1851 and fuses art, science, technology and curiosity.

GERF is an extension of Imperial College’s annual festival and takes place along the length of Exhibition Road, in addition to the Imperial campus and partner hosts such as the museums and the Royal Albert Hall. The involvement of the partner institutions has broadened the festival scope to encompass more arts and culture alongside STEM focussed activity.

Our Approach

Our evaluation of the first Great Exhibition Road Festival aimed to understand the value of extending the offer beyond Imperial alone. It explored the festival’s audience, their needs, and the festival’s impacts upon them, as well as the views of volunteers and participants.

We employed a mixed methods approach to explore different elements of the festival. This included both paper and online surveys, interviews, and the creation of tactile interactive evaluation tools.


A final report including recommendations for the development of GERF, discussed in a round up meeting with the festival team, as well as development of a range of evaluative tools for use at future festivals.

STEM Ambassador Extension Training

Through support from STEMNET, Graphic Science developed STEM Ambassador Extension Training and delivered sessions to over 400 volunteer STEM Ambassadors from Edinburgh to Exeter.

Graphic Science worked with STEMNET to deliver more than 25 training sessions to STEM Ambassadors around the country. The training was developed to support STEM Ambassadors who wish to play a more active role in inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The two-hour sessions were designed to help STEM Ambassadors to:

  • increase their confidence in presenting in front of different audiences
  • develop their own STEM Ambassador activities and adapt them appropriately
  • share ideas and experiences with other STEM Ambassadors through informal mentoring

It was great to meet so many Ambassadors. Now, the training has been handed over to the local STEM Ambassador contract holders and we hope that it will continue to be used to inspire their volunteers to create exciting new STEM activities for their schools.

Evaluation workshops for Wellcome Trust centre

Evaluation workshops for Wellcome Trust centre Public Engagement staff

Graphic Science was asked by the Wellcome Trust to run practically-focussed evaluation workshops for the public engagement leads at each of the centres that receive strategic Wellcome Trust funding.

We consulted with staff from each of the centres to find out what would be most useful to them and then developed a highly interactive workshop that took them step by step through the process of planning, designing and analysing the data from an evaluation.

As part of this, we threaded through a real example of a project we had evaluated and encouraged participants to think about how they would approach a similar task and critique our approach.

“I found it very useful and the orientation – towards practical advice and hands-on exercises was spot-on.”

“Personally, I liked the relaxed delivery style of the trainers – they were happy to let the session wander off the planned agenda into group discussions, which were equally useful and helped the group start to form constructive relationships between different centres – contacts that I’m sure will be mutually helpful in years to come.”

Supporting the Engineering Diploma

In addition to the training we give to all STEM Ambassadors under the STEMNET contract, we provide on-going support to our STEM Ambassadors through one to one mentoring, guidance to develop activities, networking opportunities and buddying with more experienced Ambassadors.

From time to time, this includes developing specialist training to help Ambassadors support developing areas of the curriculum or other areas of increased school need.

For example, in 2009 we received funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering to design a bespoke training course, along with a set of specially devised classroom activities, for engineers across the South West who wished to support the delivery of the 14-19 Engineering Diplomas in schools.

The project entailed

  1. Designing a training course that provided engineers with the skills to support the delivery of the 14-19 Engineering Diplomas
  2. Delivering this training course to a range of STEM Ambassadors across the South West
  3. Developing resources and activities for engineers to use in schools
  4. Working with schools to provide opportunities for these engineers to develop their skills through working with students studying the 14-19 Engineering Diploma

More recent curriculum changes and significantly reduced government support have meant that fewer schools now offer the 14-19 Engineering Diploma. However, the engineers who took part in the training continue to support schools with the activities they developed.

Enhancing employability: STEM undergraduates

Enhancing employability skills of STEM undergraduates

A HE STEM funded project in collaboration with the Universities of Exeter, Bath and Plymouth and Devon Education Business Partnership to develop and deliver training that would enhance the employability skills of Student Ambassadors studying STEM subjects at Undergraduate level.

The aim of the project was to help STEM Student Ambassadors to identify and develop employability skills during their time at University. The project consisted of training workshops and resources that encouraged students to reflect on their ambassador experience, recognise the skills they have developed and learn how best to sell these to potential employers.

Student ambassadors play an important part in South West HEIs’ outreach and engagement activities by acting as enthusiastic and capable role models. In turn, student ambassadors develop a wide range of skills through their participation in these activities; skills that are highly valued by employers. However, many ambassadors fail to recognise the transferability of the skills they are developing or that this experience can provide them with evidence of vital skills and attributes sought by employers.

Graphic Science was a key member of the steering group that developed the two sets of training for the project. The first helped STEM Student Ambassadors to identify key employability skills, find ways in which to develop them and practice giving evidence of them in an interview setting. This training was delivered to students at the University of Bath by Graphic Science.

The second was a ‘train the trainer’ event where ambassadors who had already attended the employability skills workshop learnt how to deliver the same workshop to new student ambassadors. This training equipped students with valuable facilitation skills as well as making the programme sustainable.

Graphic Science trained 10 Student Ambassadors from across the three participating universities. These ambassadors then supported the training of a new cohort of students at their own institutions. The HEIs involved found the ‘train the trainer’ element of the project so valuable that they have now incorporated it into a number of their training packages.

Graphic Science has also put together 9 case studies illustrating the benefits of the training to the Student Ambassadors and the HEIs involved.

The case studies and other resources associated with the project are available through the HE STEM South West website: