Aims of the programme
We want to:
- encourage and support leadership and capacity building for public engagement activities within organisations and networks
- make a substantial contribution to the wider community of highly skilled practitioners and networks that are under the STFC umbrella
- inspire and involve colleagues, students and members of the public with STFC science, technology and facilities
- support talented people, at various career stages, from STFC’s academic, engineering and technical communities to undertake extended programmes of high-quality public engagement
- highlight the achievements of STFC science, technology and facilities, demonstrating the excitement of research and the value of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to the UK.
Scheme conditions and features
The STFC Leadership Fellowship in Public Engagement scheme is governed by the grant conditions as set out in the STFC Research Grants Handbook, unless otherwise stated.
Applications are accepted and awards are made on the understanding that research organisations and leadership fellows agree to observe the terms and conditions and the scheme requirements set out in this document and any amendments issued.
Awards are made on the understanding that the leadership fellow’s work and progress are subject to the same monitoring and appraisal procedures as those of other academic staff within the host institution.
Reporting and liaison with STFC
Leadership fellows in public engagement will be required to provide reports of activities to the STFC public engagement team when requested. STFC reserves the right to request periodic information or to visit the fellow. Leadership fellows will be expected to meet with the STFC public engagement grants mentor a minimum of twice a year.
The leadership fellow will also be asked to attend meetings to exchange information and ideas with others undertaking STFC public engagement activities and contribute to networking and peer learning.
The leadership fellow must make all reasonable efforts, if so invited, to respond to requests for information or to attend events or activities organised by the research council concerning the research undertaken. Such events may be held after a grant has finished.
Leadership fellows will be expected to attend an annual meeting of all STFC leadership fellows and other engagement grant holders.
Leadership fellows in public engagement are required to regularly update the record of their fellowship using the research council reporting tool, Researchfish, in line with the STFC public engagement evaluation framework. There are additional questions for STFC public engagement grant holders.
This enables STFC to easily extract data regarding the impact of the work of our leadership fellows whenever required and serves as a database of outcomes and impacts for an award holder’s own reference.
To assist with their Researchfish return, leadership fellows in public engagement are also required, throughout their award, to collect data relevant to their activities in the STFC public engagement metrics spreadsheet. Then, send it to the public engagement team once a year.
Guidance on how to fill in the public engagement questions on Researchfish, and the metric spreadsheet.
Publication, resources and acknowledgement of support
Publications and other forms of media communication, including media appearances, press releases and conferences, must acknowledge the support received from STFC, quoting the grant reference number if appropriate. Resources produced as a result of any grants should acknowledge STFC as the funding source, using the standard format agreed by funders and publishers and detailed in the additional information accompanying this grant.
In order to ensure appropriate coordination and opportunities to increase the impact of engagement, external media activity produced as a result of this award must be signed off by the STFC media team before the activity takes place or is published. This includes:
- press releases
- online videos
- media briefings.
Award holders are responsible for giving STFC sufficient notice in advance of activities such that STFC can advise on content or build the activities of grant holders into our own communications and engagement programmes.
It is the responsibility of the research organisation, and all engaged in the research, to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the intellectual assets obtained in the course of the research, whether protected by intellectual property rights or not, are used to the benefit of society and the economy.
Outcomes and resources should be disseminated or made available to both research and more widespread audiences, for example to inform potential users and beneficiaries of the research.
Unless stated otherwise, the ownership of all intellectual assets, including intellectual property, and responsibility for their application, rests with the organisation that generates them.
STFC may, in individual cases, reserve the right to retain ownership of intellectual assets. This includes intellectual property (or assign it to a third party under an exploitation agreement) and to arrange for it to be exploited for the national benefit and that of the research organisation involved. This right, if exercised, will be clearly set out in an additional grant condition.
There should be suitable recognition and reward to researchers who undertake activities that deliver benefit through the application of research outcomes. The research organisation must ensure that all those associated with the research are aware of and accept these arrangements.
Funding is provided in order to enable you to undertake specific public engagement activities, free of some or all of the restrictions imposed by their normal employment. Awards are made on the understanding that the leadership fellow’s work and progress are subject to the same monitoring and appraisal procedures as those of other academic staff within the host research organisation. Furthermore, awards are made on the presumption that there are adequate facilities at the host organisation to support the proposed programme of work.
It is a condition of every grant that STFC accepts no liability for the manner in which the work in connection with the grant is undertaken. The research organisation and leadership fellow will be responsible in all respects for the work and the consequences of it.
Termination of awards
A grant may be terminated, or its conditions varied, at any time at the absolute discretion of STFC. Should the leadership fellow leave their institution for another research organisation or an alternative type of employment, they must notify the STFC public engagement team immediately.
If it is not possible to transfer the grant then STFC will terminate payments from the day immediately after the leadership fellow leaves the host institution. Failure to submit reports will result in termination of the award unless there are mitigating reasons.
Applicants are advised to contact their proposed host department as early as possible, and certainly well ahead of the deadline for submission of applications. Departments may have internal processes to select which candidates to support and the deadlines for these may be several weeks in advance of an STFC closing date.
Research organisations, through a head of department or equivalent, must provide a host institution statement to accompany any application. This statement must outline how the department will recognise and support the leadership fellow and the aims of their fellowship, should they be successful in their application.
Research organisations must:
- consider public engagement leadership fellows as a core part of their research capability and ensure that their work is integrated into the host department as part of the research organisation’s strategic and operational activities
- recognise and value public engagement leadership fellows as highly valued staff who play an important and substantial role in encouraging engagement within their host institution
- provide public engagement leadership fellows with the commensurate level of assistance and support required to make the fellowship a success.
Administration and logistical support
STFC encourages applications to include requests for administrative or logistical support of up to 50% FTE equivalent to directly support successful applicants.
The funds awarded are not required to be used to support a single individual and this resource can be flexibly deployed through the duration of the fellowship.
Project partners and letters of support
STFC public engagement awards are often partnerships between the grant holders (who apply for and receive financial support from STFC) and project partners. Such partnerships are not a requirement of STFC support, but may strengthen a case for funding when they are deemed well planned and important for delivery of an impactful programme.
Before an application is made, STFC requires that applicants create proposals that commit the involvement of all parties required to make the proposed programme a success.
We encourage applicants to create these partnerships in advance of submitting an application for funding, and to include details of the partnership in the application. Well-constructed partnerships strengthen proposals by providing complementary skills and knowledge, and additional staff time.
Project partner contributions in cash or in-kind should be seen as additional to the research councils’ contribution and are not considered part of the full economic cost of the project.
Impact of COVID-19
At the time of opening we recognise that there remain potential issues developing partnerships related to COVID-19. The STFC public engagement team would be happy to discuss the situation as applicants develop their submissions. We encourage you to continue to engage and liaise with potential partners to the fullest practical extent and develop your application accordingly.
If you have faced difficulties in building and evidencing partnerships we encourage early contact with the STFC public engagement team to obtain advice regarding your application.
STFC National Laboratories and employees as project partners
STFC employs hundreds of scientific and technical staff, alongside our own team of public engagement professionals based at our laboratories across the UK.
Applicants for public engagement funding are welcome to seek to include STFC as project partners on public engagement applications where relevant, subject to the guidance above.
Applicants must contact STFC staff at least four weeks in advance of the submission deadline if they consider STFC involvement to be important in making their proposal a success.
STFC reserves the right to choose not to participate in proposals at our own discretion.
Please note that applications involving STFC as a project partner are treated no differently to other applications in the peer review and funding decision process.