Face to Face

Making sport science more accessible

Face to Face with Sports Science is the multi-award winning public engagement initiative of LJMU's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Face to Face aims to help people understand how sport and exercise science research contributes to enhancing human performance, from elite athletes and people with health conditions, to astronauts training for space travel.

The Face to Face team adapt their innovative, inclusive and engaging learning to a wide range of audiences in schools, workplaces, museums and other public and community spaces. In recent years, Face to Face has successfully delivered their unique brand of engaging educational programmes to over 10,000 people each year.

Some of the team's more high-profile events include:

  • Liverpool Light Night
  • Universities UK exhibition at the Natural History Museum
  • Mission X ‘Train like an Astronaut’ and Cosmic Classroom event at the World Museum in Liverpool. The event coincided with the high profile launch of British astronaut Tim Peake on his mission to the International Space Station. Schoolchildren took part in a live video Q&A session with Tim and interactive workshops with the Face to Face team.
  • European Researchers' Night
  • BBC Radio 1Xtra coverage linked to the World Athletics Championships

Face to Face has an excellent reputation for its school engagement activities. Over 250 pupils and their teachers have been given the chance to interact with our STEM Ambassadors, who are world-class scientists, and experience state-of-the-art facilities at Liverpool John Moores University thanks to Royal Society Partnership Grants. Face to Face blend lectures and hands-on activities covering topics such as sports nutrition and biomechanics – designed to inspire children and teachers and raise awareness of STEM subjects and how they are applied to elite sport.

The talk from Professor Greg Whyte was exceptional, especially in his ability to engage and maintain the interest of the range of different aged students. All of the STEM students came away with a more positive attitude to sports and science and the potential benefits and enjoyment that they could gain from studying the STEM subjects further. 

Nuala Dune - Head of PE at St Margaret's Church of England Academy

Another way the Face to Face team is bringing sport science to the wider community is by including a public engagement aspect to all conference bids made by the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. This ensures that it's not just delegates who gain knowledge from the outputs of the conferences but the local community as well. Recent success with LJMU's bid for the International Council for Coach Education Global Coach Conference 2017 will ensure local volunteer coaches, schools and the public will benefit from the expertise of the Conference through free educational activities co-ordinated by Face to Face.

Not only does the work of Face to Face benefit the general public and schoolchildren, it also helps enhance the employability of LJMU undergraduate students. The introduction of public engagement placements allows students to train as STEM Ambassadors and work at events alongside the team to develop skills that will prepare them for roles within science teaching or science communication.

The Face to Face team is led by Dr Zoe Knowles. Dr Knowles has been accepted into the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement ambassador scheme in the role of Network Co-ordinator in recognition of her outstanding work within public engagement, building on previous commendations from STEMNET, the Vice Chancellor Award for Social and Economic Engagement, and Podium. Zoe was also  shortlisted for the Leadership Award for the Educate North Awards 2016.

Thanks for showing us how to be fit in space. I learnt you have to be fit before going to space. Also I learnt when you're in space you have to eat dry and spicy food. I enjoyed the fitness bit the most because it is good to be fit.

Pupil from Christ Church Primary School - talks about the Mission X event