Public engagement

Public engagement can be an important pathway that can lead to impact. It primarily entails communicating your research with the public with the ultimate goal of bringing about positive change or benefit.

A large volume of information about public engagement exists on the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) website.

Other useful public engagement resources

Fast Track Impact – Evidencing impacts from public engagement – A guide that explains how researchers can more easile and effectively articulate the value of their work with publics, to justify funding and demonstrate the impact of their research.

RCUK – Evaluation: Practical Guidelines – This guide is designed for those who lead projects intended to engage general audiences in science, social science, engineering and technology and the social, ethical and political issues that new research in these areas raises. It is intended to help project managers evaluate individual projects, regardless of their experience of evaluation.

RCUK – Engaging Young People with Cutting Edge Research – This is a guide for researchers and teachers, providing helpful signposts and opportunities to both researchers and teachers on how to get started working together.

RCUK – Dialogue with the public: Practical guidelines – intended primarily for those relatively new to communicating science or who are making the first steps to move from a monologue approach to a dialogue style. It covers the issues that any activity organiser might expect to encounter, including setting objectives; understanding audiences; attracting audiences; encouraging dialogue within traditional formats; identifying appropriate techniques to facilitate dialogue; and evaluation.

Successful Communication” is a toolkit for researchers and civil society organisations published by the Overseas Development Institute.

Outreach opportunities

Become a STEM Ambassador and get involved in activities which can have an impact on young people’s learning and enjoyment of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Public engagement information from research councils

RCUK Research Councils UK, the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils, believes that engaging the public with research helps empower people, broadens attitudes and ensures that the work of universities and research institutes is relevant to society and wider social concerns. Guides and publications are available on
AHRC Arts and humanities research is a vital part of the cultural wealth of this country, engaging millions of people through the exhibitions they visit, the music they listen to, the books they read and the plays and films they watch.
BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s science in society programme aims to enable informed debate and ensure broad input into our strategic decision-making.
EPSRC The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.
ESRC Economic and Social Research Council believe that by raising public awareness of the social sciences and encouraging their involvement in both social and science-related research this will translate into real benefits for society and individuals.
MRC Medical Research Council encourages the scientists they fund to take part in public engagement activities and to share their work with the wider world
NERC Natural Environment Research Council is committed to communicating its work as widely as possible, to inform and enthuse non-scientific audiences about environmental science and to demonstrate the economic and societal benefits that science brings.
STFC Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Public Engagement unit offers a wide range of support for teachers, scientists and communicators to facilitate greater engagement with STFC science which includes astronomy, space science, particle physics and nuclear physics