Community Groups FAQs

What is The Science Shop?

The Science Shop is an initiative run jointly by Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and University of Ulster (UU).  We work with community organisations who want research carried out and with students who need to complete a project as part of their degree, seeking to make a match between the two.

Why is it called The Science Shop?

The name Science Shop comes from the original Dutch ‘wetenschapswinkel’ where science is translated as knowledge.  We have retained the name because we are part of an international network of Science Shops based mainly in Universities and supported by the European Commission. 

Who can use The Science Shop?

Any community or voluntary sector organisation can use our services.

Do I need to know a lot about research to use The Science Shop?

No.  We will be happy to talk you through the research process and help you to design your project.  Students working on our projects will normally have had research training and will have a supervisor in the university.

What kinds of projects do Science Shop students carry out?

Science Shop students work on many different issues including policy and legal research, architecture and planning, information technology and environmental issues as well as a broad range of social issues.

Which university should I contact to discuss my research idea?

You can contact either Queen’s University Belfast or University of Ulster.  Any information you give to one university is passed along to the other and a student may come through from either university to work on your project.

What happens after I contact The Science Shop with a research idea?

If a student is interested in your project, we will contact you.  If you are happy to go ahead, a meeting will be arranged between you, the student and one of our staff members.   At the meeting we will discuss the general scope of the project, what needs to be done, what methods will be used and how long it will take.  If everyone reaches an agreement, we will draw up a contract between you and the student.  However if either party feel at this stage that they don’t want to proceed, it is still possible to withdraw until the agreement is signed.

Do I have to pay for this service?

No.  Students are not paid for the work they undertake through The Science Shop.  However if students are likely to incur additional costs through carrying out the project we may ask you to make a small contribution towards expenses if this is possible.

What happens if a student from either University of Ulster or Queen’s University approaches me directly either about a project on The Science Shop list or about a project they want to work on?

You can request that students work through The Science Shop if they want to access your resources.  We will then help you to manage the process and will ensure that you get a final copy of the project when it is finished.

I have a project idea but it might not be suitable for a student.  What do I do?

Contact either Science Shop.  We will be very happy to talk through your idea and help you to decide whether it is a suitable student project.

When is the best time to discuss new project ideas?

We are available to discuss new ideas throughout the year.  However we find that summertime is a particularly good time to put together new projects since most students come through at the start of the academic year in October.

When will my project be completed?

Once a project has been discussed, it is placed on the Science Shop database and advertised to students across both universities.  It is important that students choose a project that is meaningful to them and unfortunately it is not possible to guarantee that a student will take up your project within a given timescale.  However we will keep your project on our database unless you inform us that you no longer need the information.

How do I get information on The Science Shop?

You can contact The Science Shop office for an information pack or for an informal chat on how The Science Shop works.  You can also meet with a member of staff to discuss research ideas. For more information, telephone Emma on 028 90973107