Wellcome Sanger Institute, Genome Research Limited
Darwin Tree of Life Project

Darwin Tree of Life Public Engagement Programme

The Darwin Tree of Life public engagement programme will deliver a wide array of opportunities for audiences around the UK to experience cutting edge genomic science, hands on. From the Norfolk Broads to the Scottish Highlands, school children, local communities, and citizen scientists will have the chance to get involved in finding and identifying specimens; will see how DNA from these specimens is extracted, sequenced, and analysed; and learn how this mammoth project can help protect the species that make our world so special.

About the Darwin Tree of Life Project

The Darwin Tree of Life Project is a world-leading genomics research partnership, headed by the Wellcome Sanger Institute. The Project’s highly ambitious scientific research aims to fully sequence the DNA of all complex life across Britain and Ireland (70,000 species of animals, plants, fungi, and protists) to create a new way of understanding biodiversity and transform how we do biology.

Role of the Public Engagement Programme

The Darwin Tree of Life’s ambition, to map the genome of every Eukaryotic organism in the UK and Ireland, is at the leading edge of the Earth BioGenome Project – a global effort to map the DNA of all complex life. It will be vitally important for UK species and UK genome science, and will lay the pathway for future biodiversity genome projects around the world. Public engagement is an integral part of this ambition.

To embed engagement at the centre of the project, the Darwin Tree of Life’s public engagement grant will fund an expansive Participation Phase, and a Sharing Phase. This will involve participatory projects such as Bioblitz events; field trips; species walks; museum exhibits; online chat-rooms so that school pupils can talk with scientists; and other engagement activities (more detailed information will be provided on request).

Who we will engage with

The Engagement programme has a number of principle audiences:

  • children in schools with above average percentage of students receiving pupil premium (different events will cater for primary, secondary, and sixth form students);
  • nature enthusiasts who are members of expert-amateur groups who will help with collecting samples;
  • regional stakeholders, as many of our collection sites have strong relationships with local communities

The public engagement will also engage with wider cohorts beyond these groups, particularly with our partners who are visitor destinations in their own right.

Institutional Partners

As well as the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the Darwin Tree of Life’s public engagement programme works with 10 partner institutions around the UK:

  • Earlham Institute, Norwich;
  • EMBL-EBI, Cambridge;
  • Kew Gardens, London;
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Edinburgh;
  • Marine Biological Association, Plymouth;
  • the Natural History Museum, London;
  • the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Oxford.

Invitations to Tender

The Public Engagement Programme is keen to ensure that its activities have the broadest reach, with the greatest impact. To guide its activities and materials, it is seeking proposals for its:

  • Discovery Phase Audience Research – Front end audience and community consultation
  • Evaluation Programme – External evaluation of genomics public engagement project.

Discovery Phase Audience Research - Front end audience and community consultation

Budget: £22,500 (inc. VAT)
Proposals by: 14:00 (UK BST) on 12th May 2021
To Start: June/July 2021
To Finish: 18th Dec 2021
Notes: This brief is tendered alongside a second Darwin Tree of Life Project brief for Evaluation Consultancy. Interested parties can submit proposals for one, or for both of these briefs. The Evaluation Consultancy brief can be found further down this web page.
Both schemes of work are outside IR35 for HMRC purposes

The Darwin Tree of Life Project requests proposals for an audience consultation project (Discovery Phase) in the field of public engagement with genomics. We invite proposals from individuals, who have the right to work in the UK, and organisations (Learning Partner).

The Discovery Phase will examine how key communities perceive DNA and genomics in the context of the natural world, evolution, and biodiversity, and how the Darwin Tree of Life Project’s academic community can benefit from interaction with communities sharing an interest in the natural world.

It will inform the planning and implementation of the later stages of he Project’s public engagement programme, which will proceed through 2022 to finish on 8th Feb 2023.

Project Objectives

We are looking for public consultation specialists to conduct both desk-based and public consultation research that will equip the Darwin Tree of Life Project with:

  1.  An improved understanding of our audiences, particularly before engagement activities. What their awareness is of DNA and genomics as they pertain to the natural world; what their attitudes are towards Darwin Tree of Life Project science; what their reasons might be for getting involved in engagement activities; and any obstacles that would reduce this engagement.
  2. A set of planning and communication tools / recommendations for Darwin Tree of Life public engagement delivery teams that are informed and shaped by an increased understanding of community needs/desires.
  3. An improved understanding of what our academic community wants from public engagement, to maximise their ownership of / involvement in public engagement.

In order to achieve these learning objectives, we anticipate the Learning Partner undertaking a literature review; an audience consultation; and a consultation with the Darwin Tree of Life Project academic communities at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and our partners around the UK. We expect that this work can be completed remotely.

For more about the Discovery Phase Audience Research and community consultation project and how to submit your proposal, please visit this Discovery Audience Research Brief web page.

Evaluation Programme - External evaluation of genomics public engagement project

Budget: £22,500 (inc. VAT)
Proposals by: 14:00 (UK BST) on 12th May 2021
To Start: June/July 2021
To Finish: 8th Feb 2023
Notes: This request for proposals is tendered alongside a second Darwin Tree of Life Project brief for front end Audience Consultation. Interested parties can submit proposals for one, or for both of these briefs. The Discover Phase Audience Consultation brief can be found further up this web page.
Both schemes of work are outside IR35 for HMRC purposes.

The Darwin Tree of Life Project requests proposals for a public engagement evaluation programme (Project Evaluation) for events connected to a genome science research project. We invite proposals from individuals, who have the right to work in the UK, and organisations.

In order to ensure that the Project’s public engagement is effective and ambitious, a strong Evaluation Process is required to:

  • identify aims and milestones;
  • create tools for partners to register outcomes of public events;
  • pull out lessons learned from DToL’s activities for use in designing future public engagement on this and similar projects.

Project Objectives

The Darwin Tree of Life Project team wish to appoint an Evaluation Partner to conduct both desk-based and public consultation evaluation methodologies that will provide:

  1. An improved understanding of how to best evaluate the varied selection of public engagement activities in our programme;
  2. A set of evaluation tools for use by our engagement delivery teams who will be collecting evaluation data at events;
  3. Analysis, to ensure that projects can be adapted during the programme as our learning improves in order that outcomes align with our funder’s expectations, and maximise positive experiences for our audiences and colleagues;
  4. An understanding at the end of the programme of the impact and value of the programme to inform future projects.

For more about the Evaluation Programme and how to submit your proposal, please visit this Evaluation Programme brief web page.

 

Sanger people

Photo of Jack Monaghan

Jack Monaghan

Public Engagement Coordinator

External partners and funders

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