Embedding public engagement
UK Research and Innovation is committed to supporting and rewarding researchers to engage with the public, achieving a culture change so that public engagement is embedded alongside research and valued as an important activity. As such, the research councils are signatories of the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research (PDF, 579KB), which outlines the expectations and responsibilities of research funders with respect to public engagement, to help embed public engagement in universities and research institutes.
As part of the investment towards embedding, research councils have partnered with the Wellcome Trust and other UKRI partners and UK funding bodies to fund the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).
A series of investments made by research council partners in the last 10 years has underpinned our commitment:
- Strategic Support to Expedite Embedding Public Engagement with Research - 2017-2018 (grants active) - Invited two types of approach from institutions to help enrich and embed cultures within Higher Education Institutions. Firstly, where excellent public engagement with research (PER) is supported, valued and rewarded and secondly, where PER is integrated within institutional policies, practices and procedures.
- Catalyst Seed Fund 2015-2017 (evaluation active) - Provided flexible funding directly to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to help create a culture where excellent public engagement with research is better embedded within the HEI and appropriately included within its policies, procedures and practices.
- The Schools University Partnership 2013-2018 (evaluation active) - Supported researchers’ direct engagement with students and brought contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning to enhance and enrich the curriculum. Research councils invested around £2.5million over the lifetime of the initiative.
- Public Engagement with Research Catalysts 2012-2015 - Acted as a catalyst for culture change within HEIs to help them embed public engagement with research within their policies, procedures and practices.
- Beacons for Public Engagement 2008-2012 - University-based collaborative centres which helped support, recognise, reward and build capacity for public engagement work across the UK.