Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has a long history of public engagement, having started life as the People's Palace, built in 1887 to provide culture, entertainment and education to the people of east London. QMUL have continued this tradition to the present day, building involvement into institutional strategy and supporting a wide range of activities aimed at public engagement.

The Blizard Institute is committed to working with and improving the lives of our local population via a wide range of Public Engagement projects, including our flagship project the Centre of The Cell, a science education centre located within the working biomedical research laboratories of the Blizard Institute and has received over 100,000 visitors since it opened in 2010.

Centre of the Cell

Graphic detailing cell structure

Centre of the Cell is a science education centre based inside the Blizard Institute. It is the first science education centre in the world to be located within working biomedical research laboratories.

Centre of the Cell is located inside the distinctive orange ‘Pod’ suspended above the laboratories of the Blizard Institute, so visitors can see research scientists at work as they enter the centre. Once inside, visitors learn about the amazing world of cells, the human body and the latest medical research.

The project has won a number of major awards including the Museums & Heritage Excellence Award for the Best Educational Initiative in the UK and the EngageU Award for the Best Innovations in University Outreach and Public Engagement in Europe.

Centre of the Cell is dedicated to inspiring curiosity and learning by connecting science to everyday life. It seeks to have a positive influence on the career, educational and personal health choices of children and young people.

Centre of the Cell’s aims are to:

  • Inspire the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals
  • Stimulate interest, excitement and dialogue about biomedical research
  • Raise aspirations, especially in our local community
  • Promote learning within the family and community
  • Improve lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Widen participation in further and higher education
  • Improve health and wellbeing in our local communities
  • Create a local, national and global centre of excellence in Public Engagement

You can find out more about the project and book a visit here: www.centreofthecell.org

Teddy Bear Hospital


Teddy Bear Hospital is an innovative and international public health project whose main aim is to help young children between the ages of 3-7 years to reduce their fears of dentists, doctors and hospital environments in a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. We also aim to give medical insights to children improving their understanding of our bodies and safe, healthy living.

These aims fit in with Key Stage One National Curriculum aims; that pupils should be taught to understand life processes and living things.

How are these aims achieved? By holding workshops in schools around Tower Hamlets. We teach them about germs and show them medical and dental equipment, and how to brush their teeth properly, and they bring in their ‘sick’ teddies for us to ‘heal’.

Every year we hold our Safety Day where kids visit our medical school and interact with emergency services staff, visit 'Centre of the Cell' and do loads of fun activities. Teddy Bear Hospital provides such an amazing and fun experience; not only for the kids, but probably more for the medics and dentists involved, and it gives us much-needed exposure to children, holding us in good stead for our future careers. 

This year we have also started up clinics in the Royal London Hospital, aiming to alleviate fears of some medical procedures as well as break the monotony of hospital life for the children there.

If you have any questions please contact us on:

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Centre for Public Engagement

This year, as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the People's Palace, Queen Mary, University of London will be launching a Centre for Public Engagement to enable an inspirational public dialogue with the College's ideas and research.

The new Centre will support our staff and students and their work with external partners – businesses, charities, community organisations, government, and the wider public – ensuring that this work achieves a positive social and economic impact. The Centre will launch this autumn.

What will the Centre do?

At Queen Mary, we undertake a wide range of public engagement activities. We work with

  • local schools and young people, helping to inspire the next generation of learners
  • government, civil servants and politicians to inform policy development
  • cultural organisations, businesses and charities on community-based projects

The Centre for Public Engagement will bring together these existing public engagement activities, and support and promote new initiatives. It will also help to train and mentor the next generation of knowledge communicators and spread best practice in engagement activity and its evaluation.

The new Centre will aim to

  • set new regional, national and international standards for the way universities engage with the public
  • embed public engagement at all levels of the College
  • develop a patient engagement programme that builds on our close links with the Barts and The London NHS Trust
  • forge new links with local schools, cultural organisations and community groups
  • create training programmes for staff and students to develop their public engagement skills
  • recognise staff and students for their public engagement work
  • evaluate and measure the impact of our public engagement work

More about the Centre for Public Engagement