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Opportunity to design your own research exhibit

This is an exciting new joint initiative from the University of Glasgow's College of Medicine, Veterinary & Life Sciences and Glasgow Science Centre funded by Wellcome ISSF.

Call for entries

The Amplify 2022 call for entries has now closed. Please check back for updates and future opportunities.

Amplify is a unique opportunity for you to work with Glasgow Science Centre’s Experience Design Team to create an exhibit that allows you to engage public audiences with your research in an interactive and exciting way.

This call seeks to showcase an aspect of research that is being undertaken by the University of Glasgow’s College of Medicine, Veterinary & Life Sciences (MVLS) and is open to all staff and post graduate researchers across the college.

Led by the Science Centre team, this competitive call will bring together MVLS researchers and their identified public communities to work collaboratively with science engagement professional, designers, makers, and project managers to create a meaningful and compelling STEM engagement experience.

Together we will find imaginative and innovative ways to make your research accessible; bringing independent thinking, objectivity, and creativity to deliver an outstanding and meaningful public engagement experience.

Each part of this competitive call will provide you with valuable resources and techniques to improve your future public engagement activities. For those who progress to the final stage will be the grand prize of seeing their exhibit produced and staged for their public audience.

The winning design could be:

  • part of the Glasgow Science Centre exhibitions Bodyworks – housed in a Research Capsule, or Idea No. 59 – as part of Health & Care Reimagined, The Future of Everyday and Urban World,
  • hosted at an identified community or public venue - permissions permitting,
  • delivered as a mobile/touring exhibit suitable for small locations and public events.


Stage 1

  • Open call - September 2022
  • Close call - 30 October 2022
  • Announce Stage 2 participants - November 2022

Stage 2

  • Co-design process with each participant - November 2022 to February 2023
  • Develop 'Dragons Den' style design pitch - February 2023

Stage 3

  • Present to judging panel 21 February 2023
  • Winning design confirmed
  • Costings and location for winning exhibit confirmed - March 2023
  • Design developed, fabrication through to launch - March 2023 to July 2023
  • Launch of winning exhibit - August 2023

For further detail about each of the stages, please see the FAQ below.

Applications now closed

The Amplify 2022 call for entries has now closed. Please check back for updates and future opportunities.

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The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) provide detailed information about who is eligible to participate in Amplify, the stages of this competitive call, what makes a good entry, and the judging panel.

Who is eligible to participate in Amplify?

  • This competitive call is only open to MVLS staff and post graduate researchers at University of Glasgow.
  • You may enter as an individual or a research group.
  • We welcome all stages of researcher – from new postgraduate and early careers researcher to Nobel Prize winner. If you are a postgraduate researcher, you will need to obtain a letter of support from your supervisor.
  • The proposed exhibit must showcase work that researchers or research groups from MVLS contribute to.
  • All entrants must be willing and able to commit the required time during the 3 to 4-month Stage 2 co-design process.

Stage 1 - How to enter

At this stage you don’t need to have a fully worked up plan of what the finished exhibit could look like – we will work with you if selected in Stage 2 to co-design it with you. This stage is about producing a strong idea and a clear concept of what you wish to achieve from your exhibit.

You need to provide - an outline of the back story as to why it is important that the public engage with your research, who the target audience might be and what the learning outcomes / messages you are seeking to convey.


  • Check you are eligible to apply
  • Complete our simple application form– see link above
  • Submit application before deadline - 30 October 2022
  • Not sure an want to discuss your idea - contact MVLS Engagement team

Time commitment from you:

An afternoon – some thinking time, maybe a discussion with colleagues, and then it depends on how fast you complete the application.

Stage 2 - Design process for shortlisted entrants

For those entrants selected to proceed to Stage 2 you will work with the Glasgow Science Centre's Experience Design Team to develop and conceptualise your idea.

Through workshops and meetings, they will help to develop your initial concept both in terms of the content (the big idea, themes, learning outcomes, the delivery mechanisms and detailed storyboards) and the design of the interactive elements.

The Experience Design Team will lead a series of sessions, design sprints, periods of reflection to develop and co-produce an Exhibit Design Manual that brings together all aspects of your proposed visitor experience and how it will be delivered.

Elements of this stage will cover:

  • Creation of the exhibit vision - purpose / big idea / themes and content hierarchy.
  • Distillation of the science content - background research – to support the production of the interpretations.
  • Consultation and testing of ideas with target audiences.
  • Sketches and mood boards through to conceptual design drawings of the exhibit and its location within the Science Centre, a chosen external venue, or as a mobile exhibit.
  • The development of initial exhibit ideas through prototyping and testing through to detailed exhibit briefs and storyboards.
  • Creation of an Interpretation Strategy describing the aspects of the reading level of the copy, tone of voice, sources of information, interpretive mediums alongside a Graphics Style Guide that will feed into, and shape, the graphical style of the exhibit.
  • Progress the conceptual ideas through to detailed design to allow procurement costing to take place.

All participants at the end of Stage 2 will have a detailed Exhibition Design Manual that could form the basis of future funding applications to research councils and others. Glasgow Science Centre would support these applications.


  • Work with the Experience Design Team to create your Exhibit Design Manual
  • Develop your 'Dragons Den' style design pitch.

Time commitment from you:

This stage will take place over 3 to 4-months.

You will be expected to attend four to five 2-hour sessions of consultation and co-design that will be hosted at Glasgow Science Centre.

In addition, you and/or your team would be expected to commit further time to support the development of the content and reviewing ideas.

Stage 3 - How is the winner selected - What happens next?

Each shortlisted group will present in a 'Dragons Den' style – but kinder – pitch event.

The pitch will be a 5 slide / 5 min talk about your idea, followed by questions from the judging panel.

Once selected by the judging panel the winning exhibit design will go into immediate production.

Glasgow Science Centre will lead the production and installation, working with you in conjunction with their designers and fabricators.


  • Present your 'Dragons Den' style design pitch.
  • The winner - work with the Experience Design Team to fabricate and deliver their exhibit.

Time commitment:

All shortlisted entrants will attend the judging event on 21 February 2023.

Winning entrant: turning your winning design into a physical exhibit is likely to take 5 to 6-months, and will require you and/or your team to attend four to five 1-hours sessions to review and sign-off content and designs.

What happens to my design if I do not win?

If you are shortlisted to proceed to Stage 2 then there is still a chance that your exhibit could be produced and staged for public audiences.

All shortlisted Stage 2 projects will receive a bespoke Exhibit Design Manual for their design.

Glasgow Science Centre will support you in the production of these materials that could assist you in future funding applications to make your exhibit idea a reality.

The MVLS Engage Team will be pleased to highlight possible funding opportunities you may wish to explore.

Who are the judging panel?

The final judging panel is still to be confirmed but will consist of staff and colleagues from:

  • Glasgow Science Centre’s Exhibition Design Team
  • College of MVLS
  • University of Glasgow representatives

What makes a good entry?

In considering what ideas will be selected to go forward into Stage 2 the Judging Panel will consider:

  • The idea and the relevance of the research to a public audience. The originality, creativity and enthusiasm displayed in the description.
  • The commitment of the entrant to deliver an interactive exhibit.
  • The feasibility of creating the exhibit in a way that is safe and affordable and offers visitors a meaningful engagement.

How are costs managed?

Unlike many other public engagement opportunities, you’re not expected to consider budgets in your application. By working with the Experience Design Team you will create a design that can be covered by the overall project budget and creates a unique, high quality experience about your research. The Glasgow Science Centre team will work with their suppliers and manage the costs of design and building.

My research is about a sensitive topic, is it appropriate for Amplify?

Glasgow Science Centre has experience in creating exhibits around sensitive topics, and as part of the design process you would work with both Glasgow Science Centre and MVLS Engage Team as well as with target audiences to ensure the final product is created with care and respect. We don’t want to avoid potentially upsetting subjects, but aim for a conversation about how people are working to improve things.

Is there a specific audience I should target?

It’s important to consider who you want to engage at the very first stages of design. Who you want to target will affect what kind of exhibit you want to make, and also where and how it would be best to display it. If you are selected for the design process, you will get the chance to talk with your audience and get their input on what you are doing.

How big or small can the exhibit be?

This depends on the exhibit. An exhibit could be small and portable to be used in multiple settings, something larger that would sit within the science centre itself, or even bigger for a festival setting, depending on who will engage with it, as well as how and where it will be displayed.

My research includes something very specific (such as a tool or equipment, a type of software), can that be included?

What gets included in a final design depends on what’s most useful for creating the type of experience you want. There may be constraints based on factors such as practicality, costs, safety and robustness. If there’s a specific tool, piece of equipment or something else that you think is vital, please do include it in your application, but be open to working with the team to figure out what will work best.


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