Support for engaged researchers | University of Oxford
Image of Professor Alison Woollard: the University of Oxford's Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research
Image of Professor Alison Woollard: University of Oxford's Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research (Credit: Paul Wilkinson)

Support for engaged researchers

Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund

This University of Oxford small grants scheme provides funds for researchers to develop, deliver and evaluate Public Engagement with Research projects and activities. The closing date for the next round of applications in 20 October 2017.

Further information on the scheme is provided here: PER Seed Fund Guidelines 2017-18.pdf

Applications are made via the University's Internal Research Awards Management System, IRAMS

A list of the funded projects for 2016-17 is provided here: PER Seed Fund Projects 2016-17

Research Council/ Wellcome Trust funding

Pathways to Impact

All the UK Research Councils require researchers to consider the future impact of research at the point of applying for funding and public engagement is a recognised route to impact. The scheme is called Pathways to Impact, and more information can be found on the Research Councils UK (RCUK) website.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust expects their grant-holders to engage the public with their research and as such provides support and funding for this activity as part of research grants. Furthermore, various Wellcome Trust funding schemes designed specifically for public engagement can be applied for directly. 

Other funding opportunities

For other external funding opportunities, visit the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) website.

Public Engagement with Research Training

Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences Division and the Medical Sciences Division

Training courses offered throughout the year for researchers and DPhil students:

  • Introduction to Public Engagement
  • Communicating your research through story
  • Podcast your science
  • Beyond communication: effective two-way engagement
  • Developing interactive activities for festivals
  • The Conversation

For further information and to book: booking page

Humanities Division and Social Sciences Division

Links to training provided by these Divisions are provided below, including course relevant to Public Engagement with Research: 

Humanities (link):

  • Public engagement summer school
  • The Conversation

 Social Sciences (link):

  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Impact
  • The Conversation

Departments and Groups

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities - TORCH (link)

  • Offers training courses, seminars and experiential learning in public engagement

IT Services (link)

  • Organise an annual series called #OxEngage, with courses targeted at training in digital media for communication, podcasting and social media. For a full list of courses, see the IT Learning Programme (ITLP) website. The library of self-study online courses hosted by Lynda.com is accessed for free by University staff using the 'Single-Sign-On' (SSO) on the the IT website.

Early Career Academic Outreach Network (link)

  • Public engagement training

External training opportunities

Public engagement training is also offered by various external agencies, including funders and professional bodies. Below is a link to regular courses that may be accessible to researchers at the University of Oxford.

Note that some courses are only available to individuals supported by those agencies and some training courses may incur course fees.

BBSRC

Royal Society

Wellcome Trust

 For other external training available, visit the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) website.

Public Engagement with Research Strategic Plan

The University of Oxford's Public Engagement with Research Strategic Plan was launched on 12 December 2016. The purpose of the  Plan is two-fold:  
- to frame an ambitious vision for Public Engagement with Research at Oxford;

- to identify the key steps towards it that will be undertaken in the next three years and against which to measure progress.

Oxford’s vision is to embed high-quality and innovative public engagement as an integral part of research culture and practice, enhancing its position as a world-leading research institution. A key focus of the Plan is to equip academics and researchers across the institution to develop and deliver high-quality Public Engagement with Research activities and to foster a culture in which they are recognised for their accomplishments. This will be achieved by:

◦  building this activity into the planning and resourcing of new research projects;
◦  facilitating opportunities for collaboration, in particular between researchers and the University’s museums, gardens, libraries and collections;
◦  providing researchers with support and training and
◦  publicising and celebrating examples of best practice both within the University and externally.

Professor Sarah Whatmore, University Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research (2015 - 2017) said We were able to build on a strong constituency of practitioners and enthusiasts at Oxford to develop this Public Engagement with Research Strategy, which provides a more systematic approach to enable newcomers to this agenda to participate, but also supports those who are long experienced in public engagement to do their work even more effectively and with greater impact.”

Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research

Professor Alison Woollard, Department of Biochemistry and Fellow of Hertford College, has been appointed as the next Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research at the University of Oxford.

Professor Woollard will provide academic leadership for the implementation of the University’s Public Engagement with Research strategic plan that was approved by the University’s Research Committee in May 2016. The vision is to embed high-quality and innovative public engagement as an integral part of research culture and practice at Oxford, enhancing our position as a world-leading research institution.

On her appointment, Professor Alison Woollard said:

“It is a fantastic time to become Academic Champion. The University is clearly committed to raising the profile of Public Engagement with Research through its Strategic Plan and there could not be a more important time for this”.

Professor Woollard will work alongside Professor Ian Walmsley, who as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation is responsible for public engagement, and with a network of academic ambassadors from across the University.

Professor Woollard succeeds Professor Sarah Whatmore, who has been appointed as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Oxford.

There are numerous toolkits and resources available for Public Engagement with Research, including guidance on planning, executing, and evaluating activities: 

Public Engagement with Research

Citizen science / public involvement

Working with young people

 Festivals

 Evaluation

 REF & impact

Working with the media