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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research
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Dr Jess Spurrell MEng, PhD

Schools University Partnerships Officer (SUPO)

Dr Jess Spurrell's photo

Jess manages the University's engagement with schools, colleges and youth groups, supporting our researchers in developing interactive activities to engage school pupils in cutting edge research.

As SUPO Jess is responsible for:

The role is jointly supported by PERu and the Widening Participation team, in which Jess manages the following projects:

Jess has a PhD in Cryogenic Engineering & Superconductivity from the University of Southampton. This is almost entirely unrelated to her MEng degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering with European Studies, which she studied also at the University of Southampton and at the SupAéro institute in Toulouse, France (because if there’s one way to make ‘Rocket Science’ harder it’s to do it in French/a second language – she can confirm, it was much harder!). This was also only loosely related to her third year research project about a Wave Energy Converter so she is an expert in not taking the direct path. It was through an accidental summer work placement at Air Products that she discovered that cryogenics is cool – seriously cool…

After discovering that other people are also excited by freezing things in liquid nitrogen and the science behind it, she has given over 50 talks, workshops and demonstrations around the UK including at Winchester and Brighton Science festivals, Science Show-off, Researchers’ Café, The Science Room @ the Art House, the Green Power Challenge, the Energy Exhibition at the Royal School of Art, and more. In the true spirit of procrastination, in 2015 she co-founded Bright Club Southampton and was an accidental performer at the first show (and somehow got asked to perform a second time!). From April 2016 to January 2017 she was also managing the UKRI-funded, NCCPE-co-ordinated Talk to US! school-university partnership initiative hosted by Southampton Education School and since January 2017 this role has morphed into the university’s first School-University Partnership Officer.

She has been a STEM Ambassador, a proud and active supporter of Ada Lovelace Day, International Women's Week and National Women in Engineering Day events and a curator of celebratory blog shouting out for unsung heroes!

  • Managing the PERu Online Educational Resources and Schools Engagement Co-ordinator interns
  • SEF (Southampton Education Forum) Heads of Science
  • SCEP (Southampton Cultural Education Partnership)
  • Southampton Hub Steering Group
  • Advisory group for development of UTC Oxfordshire Cryogenics module with STFC and the British Cryogenics Council
  • NCCPE REF Consultation 2018
  • WiSET+ Steering Group 2016-2018
  • NCCPE Engage Award Assessment 2016
  • Theano Steering Group 2015-2016
  • Environmental Rock 2011-2013
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Thesis (eprints link):

Engineering Paper (eprints link):

Poster (CERN document server link):

Article on using Cryogenics for Outreach and Engagement, ‘Frozen Aliens and Superpowers’ published in Cold Facts magazine, CSA (Cryogenics Society of America) (Vol. 31 No. 1, 2015) CSA members can download for free from the archives here:

Talk to US! Final Report:

NCCPE Engage 2019 (Activity): ‘Human Book’ in Living Library

NCCPE Engage 2018 (Talk): The Activity Mapping Tool (A SUPI Legacy), with Steve Dorney and Sam Mangham (University of Southampton) written by Jess, presented by Steve and Sam due to Jess being ill.

HEA Annual Conference 2017 (Workshop): Discovering networks for culture change: Lessons from one university's approach to tackling the STEM 'Diversity Deficit' with Adriana Wilde (University of Southampton):

C2UExpo (Vancouver) 2017 and Solent Teaching and Learning Community Conference (SLTCC) 2017 (Workshop): Weaving Stories and Connections for Successful Collaboration with Rosie Cooper (Solent University) and Debs Cater (Touch Storytelling Network)

NCCPE Engage 2016 (Workshop): The Dragon’s Den of School Partnership Sustainability with Trevor Collins, Victoria Pearson and Gareth Davies (The Open University), Ellie Cripps (University of Bristol), Jane Taylor (Lancaster University), Rosalyn Webster (University of Manchester)

NCCPE Engage 2016 (Poster): Preparing researchers for schools engagement with Ellie Cripps (University of Bristol), Rebecca Holloway (Imperial College London), Maeliosa McCrudden (Queen’s University Belfast), Paul Hughes (Aberystwyth University), Stephanie Bryan (Lancaster University)

Living Knowledge Conference 7 2016 (Workshop): Building sustainable, strategic research partnerships with schools: lessons from the SUPI project with Gemma Hortop (Hounsdown School, Totton), Sophie Duncan (NCCPE), Jenni Chambers (RCUK/UKRI), Maeliosa McCrudden (Queen’s University Belfast)

Applied Superconductivity Conference 2014 (Poster): Quench property of twisted-pair MgB2 superconducting cables in helium gas

European Conference on Applied Superconductivity (Poster): Cryogenic Stability and Quench Characteristics of Twisted-pair Cables Assemblies of MgB2 tapes 

Dr Jess Spurrell
Bldg 23 Room 1055
Highfield Campus
University of Southampton

Room Number : 23

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