Public Engagement with Research Catalysts 2012-2015

Building on the experiences and learning generated by the Beacons for Public Engagement and recognising that further support was needed to embed public engagement within the sector, the former RCUK invested a further £2.4 million in Catalyst funding (April 2012- March 2015). This funding was intended to act as a catalyst for culture change within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to help them embed public engagement with research within their policies, procedures and practices.

The aims of the Catalysts were to:

  1. Create a culture within the grant holding HEIs where excellent public engagement with research is formalised and embedded through:

    • strategic commitment to public engagement
    • integration of public engagement into the core research activities of HEIs, including measuring quality and impact of public engagement with research activities
    • reward and recognition of researchers and staff involved in public engagement
    • encouraging and supporting researchers and staff at all levels to become involved (for example by building capacity for public engagement amongst researchers)
    • creating networks within institutions to share good practice, celebrate their work and ensure that those involved in public engagement feel supported
    • contributing to a wider network supportive of public engagement including the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), other recipient HEIs and the wider higher education community.

  2. Build on experience to develop best practice that recognises the two-way nature of public engagement with research.

The following HEIs were awarded funding:

An independent review of the Catalyst Programme, based on submitted project reports and evaluations, was undertaken by Ruth Townsley Research, synthesising the approaches and achievements of the programme. Summary (PDF, 525KB) and full reports (PDF, 1.5MB) are available.

NCCPE have also considered the findings from the Catalyst teams’ experiences and have published a Culture change - embedding a culture of public engagement report.