Tuesday Feature Episode 27: Edward Bains

Edd joined the Faculty in September this year and his new broadcast will be out soon – so what better way to introduce him than a Tuesday Feature. Enjoy!


Briefly explain your role here in the Faculty.

I’m a digital media intern with the Faculty of Life Sciences. It’s my job to create the Life Science Broadcast – a series of regular short films about the exciting research that goes on in FLS. I do everything from coming up with the initial ideas and contacting academics, to recording interviews and cutaway footage. I then edit it all together and then finally market the finished product to the public. I also assist with the running of the Faculty’s social media channels, in particular our Instagram and the new Snapchat account.

How does your role benefit the general public?

By publicising the research done in the Faculty, I help facilitate a  better understanding of science to the general public. It’s vital in this day and age that scientists engage with the public and aren’t just hidden away in their labs. Science is of such huge benefit to society and people should be made aware of this, otherwise it’s easy for people to think of scientists as living in ivory towers cooking up Frankenstein’s Monster. My job also helps raise the profile of the Faculty and the University as a whole, which is important for ensuring that it continues to attract research funding and draws in students.

How did you first become interested in the life sciences?

I guess I first got into the life sciences and biology when I was about 12 years old when I adopted an orangutan with the WWF. Since then I’ve been passionate about animals and the environment and conserving our natural world. This motivated me to do a degree in biology at Manchester. My degree gave me a great insight into some fascinating topics within the life sciences such as microbiology, stem cell research and climate chance. I also went on an amazing field course to Costa Rice in my second year. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after university but I saw this internship being advertised and it sounded really appealing to me.

Do you have any heroes? Who inspired you?

*Don’t say David Attenborough, Don’t say David Attenborough*

I guess within the life sciences (and not David Attenborough) it would be Charles Darwin. He wasn’t just a brilliant biologist but was also a really great human being. Outside of the life sciences, I guess some of my heroes would be Stephen Fry and Ian Hislop. Oh and Mulan. Was she real? Saving China was pretty heroic

How has working in Manchester helped you?

Since starting my internship, I’ve learnt loads of new skills and got loads of great experience in all aspects of photography and film making and using professional editing software. I’ve also learnt a lot about marketing, running social media campaigns and the digital media environment in general. Thinking more broadly, I’ve been developing my capacity for teamwork and being creative and proactive at work. I hope this internship will be a great first step towards a career in media.

What do you do outside of work?

Outside of work, I love to keep active, going to a gym or running most evenings. I’m currently watching the Apprentice and Homeland and I’ve just started a really good new show on Netflix called Narcos. I’m really interested in politics and music and I love going to gigs and festivals. Other than that, I enjoy things like cooking, reading and going out with my friends. And I’m about to start yoga!

Students offer advice on sensible drinking

The student's posterFaculty students are campaigning against excessive alcohol consumption and hope their message goes viral. The team of first year biology students have won an award from the University for a project which tasked students with the challenge of bringing biology into the local community.

Students Bethany Love, Katy Faulkner, Caroline Cahill, Portia Hollyoak, Aimee Parry, Annika Vik,  and Helen Feord launched the awareness campaign earlier this year on social media. They used Facebook and Twitter to promote facts and figures on alcohol consumption using images and videos to engage its audience.

Bethany said her team came up with the idea not to encourage students not to drink alcohol, but to advise them on over-drinking:

“We wanted to use social media to promote our campaign to young adults outside the university since it isn’t just students that overindulge with alcohol. While the majority of students are aware of the short term effects of excessive drinking, many are not aware or would rather not think about the permanent damage that can occur as a result of binge drinking”

“We are raising awareness and letting people know that you can go out and have fun with your friends, but you can also still be safe and not damage your health. Our ambition is that when people are searching online for information about anti-binge drinking, we want them to think of us. We think they will want to engage with the campaign because it is about students talking to other students about the issues surrounding binge drinking.”

Aimee said:

“The success of our project is clear from the popularity of our Facebook and Twitter pages, and the use of social media has enabled us to reach the attention of a wider audience than expected.”

The campaign won an award for the Best Community Project at the University’s recent Biology Project Symposium. Students taking part in the project were given a term to bring biology into the local community. It took on numerous forms, from fundraising for charities to setting up/demonstrating topical information displays in primary schools and shopping malls.