1. Do the facts get in the way of a good story? One of the areas I am researching at the moment is the way particular animals are represented on television and in films: to what extent are these depictions factually correct – and, ultimately, to what extent that matters if they raise awareness of particular species and their plights? At the moment I am examining penguins, but the same sort of approach could be levelled at sharks, rhinoceros, elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, dolphins, whales, etc.
2. Science of Wine. Wine in many ways encapsulates so much about science. It is the end product of a process that incorporates geology, geography, biology, chemistry and, in some way, just about any other branch of science you could name. And yet, inherent in the process of winemaking is this lovely marriage of art with science. I have my own research taking place in this area, but it holds a multitudes of possibilities for pertinent student research projects.
3. Climate change and how it is portrayed in the media. If there is one issue that is said to symbolize the 21st Century and the issues facing us, it is global climate change. And yet, despite public awareness that it is an issue, most of the public only know what they have been fed through the media. How good are the media at communicating the science and issues underpinning climate change? How effective is this form of communication at galvanising change of opinion, attitudes, actions?
4. Enhancing science communication skills in students. Increasingly there is recognition that those engaged in careers involving science should also participate in outreach activities or some form of promotion of the science to the public. But how best to enhance the communication skills of budding scientists and others working in the area? Ways that new media and social media may be used to develop communication skills amongst science students seems like it offers fruitful possibilities – at least for research projects examining this in the first instance.
5. Digital publishing. The whole paradigm for publishing has been turned on its head in the last few years, especially with the advent of the iPad and other digital reading devices. What does this all mean for the publishing industry? For authors? For our concept of what constitutes a book? There are many possible research questions that arise here.