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UKRI publishes new public engagement vision

05/09/2019

UKRI publishes new public engagement vision

UK Research and Innovation has published its vision (PDF, 2.7MB) for how it will promote world-leading research and innovation that is built on the knowledge and values of society and open to people from all backgrounds.

Its four goals are to:

  • Focus on under-represented communities and places
  • Actively involve people in their work
  • Inspire and empower young people
  • Listen to and understand public concerns and aspirations

These goals will be delivered through funding calls, commissioning research and analysis, and piloting new approaches.

The vision is being launched in conjunction with UKRI’s first public engagement funding call for universities and community partners to test new ways to collaborate on research and innovation with under-represented communities.

Tom Saunders, UKRI Head of Public Engagement, said: “The way we support public engagement at UK Research and Innovation’s is changing. The creation of UKRI means that for the first time, the funding of all types of research and business innovation has come together in one organisation. This allows us to build on the excellent public engagement work of the research councils to develop a strategic and unified approach to engaging society in our work and the research that we fund.

“We’ve talked to lots of people: researchers, those who work in universities to support public engagement, museums, and people from other sectors such as community organisations and art galleries. As a result of this we have developed four goals to guide our work and identified areas where we need to further develop our understanding.

“We are launching the first output of that work with our new vision for public engagement. We plan to pilot new approaches and use this learning to inform our longer-term approach. The call we are launching today is the first of more to be announced in the coming months, funding for citizen science and engaging young people with climate change research.”

The full vision document can be found here. (PDF, 2.7MB)

UK Research and Innovation’s public engagement goals

We will support researchers, innovators and institutions to:

  1. Engage under-represented communities and places with research and innovation
    The gap between researchers, innovators and the public is much more stark when it comes to certain kinds of communities and places, both in terms of participation in those fields and understanding, trust and buy-in. A research and innovation system that works for all needs to close these gaps, and we will be supporting researchers, innovators and institutions to rethink the audience they engage with, and how they can refocus their work on under-represented groups.
  2. Actively involve a wide range of people in their work
    Talking to the public, about climate change, about the latest developments in health research are important activities. Moving beyond communicating the findings of research, public engagement to seeing the public as active participants, whether that’s about shaping the questions that research and innovation focus on, or involvement as a participants through methods like citizen science.
  3. Nurture a future generation passionate about research and innovationThe UK needs an outstanding, diverse workforce if we are to secure our place in the world in the 21st century. Informal learning experiences at museums, science centres, festivals and school clubs are an important way for young people to engage with research and innovation. All young people should have access to these experiences, no matter what their background or where they live.
  4. Listen to public concerns and aspirations
    The UK has pioneered approaches to understanding public concerns and aspirations for research and innovation. As the pace of innovation continues to increase, it is more important than ever that policymakers, funders, researchers and innovators are able to engage society in the development of plans and priorities.

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