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Guides, policies, research and publications

The following information could help anyone involved with public engagement to get the most out of their approach and activities.

UKRI and the research councils are in the process of updating some of our guidance and resources – please be aware that whilst the guidance below contains relevant information for anyone undertaking public engagement activity, some details may be out of date.


Research councils PER Strategy

Pathways to Impact and PER

UKRI partners are committed to supporting excellent research and realising impact and its importance. Partners have a common understanding of the importance of societal and economic as well as academic impact. The REF assesses the historic evidence of impact, and research councils require academics to consider the future impact of research at the point of applying for funding.

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) has toolkits to help you plan your engagement activity and specific guidance on including public engagement within your Pathways to Impact.


Doing Public Dialogue - a support resource for research council staff (PDF, 5.1MB): This 2012 publication was designed to give practical advice for research council staff involved with designing and delivering public dialogues.

What's in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers (PDF, 1014KB): This research council publication includes a selection of some of the highlights and first hand experiences of a range of researchers across the UK of the positive benefits arising from engaging with the public.

Resources for Schools (PDF, 760KB): A publication detailing research council classroom resources for teachers and their students.

Engaging Young People with Cutting Edge Research (PDF, 950KB): A publication for researchers and teachers, providing helpful signposts and opportunities to both researchers and teachers on how to get started working together.

The Engaging Researcher: This Vitae and National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) publication highlights some of the many ways researchers can engage the public. It also offers practical tips for getting started and explores how public engagement can benefit researchers and the public.

Impact toolkit: This toolkit is aimed at social science researchers applying for and receiving funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, but includes information valuable for anyone interested in developing an impact strategy, promoting knowledge exchange, public engagement and communicating effectively with your key stakeholders.

Evaluation Guide (PDF, 1.4MB): This research councils Evaluation Guide gives practical advice for anyone wanting to evaluate public engagement projects. The NCCPE has developed guides and courses to support researchers and public engagement professionals and practitioners to develop their evaluation work

Partnering: The research councils School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI) programme generated some valuable lessons learned and PoP tool for anyone interested in developing school-university partnerships.

Publications and research

The State of Play - Public Engagement with Research in UK Universities: In 2016, the research councils and the Wellcome Trust funded a review to explore the extent of public engagement within UK universities.

Factors Affecting public engagement by UK researchers:  a consortium of funders, led by the Wellcome Trust, published this report in 2015 following a major survey of public engagement by researchers.