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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

SMMI funded students win Doctoral College Director’s Award for Public Engagement and Outreach

Published: 4 July 2019
Left to right: Salma Sabour and Flo
Left to right: Salma Sabour and Florentin Bulot

Salma Sabour and Florentin Bulot, SMMI LTDS PhD students in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences have both been awarded the Doctoral College Director’s award in the category Public Engagement and Outreach. Salma and Florentin have both been involved in various outreach and public engagement activities since they started their PhD in September 2017. The main project they initiated, designed and carried out, was the organisation of several workshops around their research with the general public and in several schools and a university in Morocco. This was in partnership with Josie Love, Country Development Manager at the University International Office, with financial support from PERu.

“I am glad to have had the possibility to bring a piece of my research to my home country and share it with a community I don’t have the chance to interact with anymore” - Salma.

Salma’s PhD focuses on the vulnerability of coastal natural heritage to present and future shoreline change in the context of sea-level rise. During her workshops, she invited the students to think about the impact of different scenarios of shoreline change on cultural and natural sites in Morocco, about the potential threats to these sites and possible responses and preparedness to these threats. The workshops were interactive, and the students were asked to work in groups on a case study site (Dakhla – city and natural heritage) and to propose adaptation measures to future sea-level rise scenarios.

Award certificates

Florentin’s PhD is centred on the use of low-cost sensors to monitor air pollution. The workshops he delivered asked the students to design a network of low-costs sensors for their city, thinking about where the most polluted places were in their city and a potential solution. This taught the students how to program a low-cost fine particle sensor connected to a Raspberry Pi similar to a series of workshops he co-delivered in August 2018 at the EMF Festival.

They delivered workshops to a total of 120 students and the series of workshops was followed by a half day exhibition for about 80 participants around Air Pollution and Climate Change in Morocco, in the Exotic Gardens of Bouknadel in Rabat, where they also gave two interviews to national TV.

The exhibition was followed in the afternoon by a Researcher’s Café gathering local researchers, members of UNESCO, members of the Royal Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (Foundation Mohammed VI for the Protection of the Environment), local consultants and members of the public to discuss the themes of air pollution and climate change in Morocco. The event appeared in three press articles and gathered 40 participants. The Director of the Exotic Gardens expressed his satisfaction and his interest to host the event the following year.

The project was in line with the University Strategy of internationalisation by taking the research conducted at the University abroad and creating links with researchers and organisations outside of the UK while bringing a new concept of sharing knowledge between researchers, consultants and the general public in Morocco. For Florentin and Salma, the project brought insight on the multiple aspects of understanding and interpretation of their research subjects in a different socio-economic and cultural environment.

Florentin Bulot is a Leverhulme Trust Doctoral scholar based in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. His interdisciplinary research is supervised by Dr Steven Johnston (FEPS), Prof Gavin Foster (FELS), Prof Simon Cox (FEPS), Dr Matt Loxham (Medicine) and Dr Andrew Morris (NOCS).

Salma Sabour is a Leverhulme Trust Doctoral scholar based in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Her interdisciplinary research is supervised by Dr Sally Brown (FEPS), Dr Marije Schaafsma (FELS), Professor Robert Nicholls (FEPS) and Dr Ivan D Haigh (FELS).

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