The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Delivery Plan 2019 recognises the importance of inspiring, informing and interacting with the public. “We will communicate outcomes of our research and innovation in ways that instil trust. We will target activities to inform and educate, to inspire people to engage with engineering and physical sciences and understand its importance to their wellbeing and success, and to encourage bright minds into engineering and physical sciences careers.”
EPSRC’s vision for public engagement is to encourage the development of a research culture that inspires the public, attracts people to STEM careers and values interaction with the public in all stages of the research process. Through our support for public engagement, we aim to:
- inspire: to contribute to ensuring that society is inspired by the contribution that engineering and physical sciences can make to life in the UK and the wide range of benefits that it provides
- attract: to showcase the range and desirability of STEM careers to attract future workforces
- interact: to empower our communities to collaborate and interact with society throughout the research process to achieve the maximum benefits from our funding.
EPSRC provides embedded support for public engagement through our standard grants and our open fellowships scheme:
- well-planned public engagement activities related to the research proposed can be included within standard grant applications. Relevant costs for public engagement activities can be requested if justified
- addressing the public can require a certain set of skills, in particular for communication via the broadcast media, written media and/or high-quality presentations or debates. EPSRC would like to make grant applicants aware of the fact that funding can be requested for media training within the grant applications
- EPSRC Open Fellowships offer an option to allocate 20% to 50% of the time spent on the fellowship to create positive change in the research community by championing a topic aligned to EPSRC aspirations to deliver improvements in research culture, in topics such as equality, diversity and inclusion, responsible innovation or public engagement.
EPSRC public engagement champions
EPSRC are supporting four engineering champions and five information and communications technology (ICT) champions to inspire and engage the public and attract people to STEM careers. The champions are leading a variety of innovative public engagement activities, with a particular focus on engaging more members of underrepresented groups with research. Activities range from developing podcasts and writing children’s storybooks to engaging with schools and community groups.
Last updated: 16 March 2023