Support for engaged researchers | University of Oxford
Launch of the University of Oxford Strategic Plan for Public Engagement with Research
Image of the event to launch the University of Oxford's Public Engagement with Research Strategy which took place at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Support for engaged researchers

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 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.”

Introduction to Public Engagement with Research Training

Details of the up and coming Introduction to Public Engagement with Research courses provided by Oxford Sparks and the Divisions are listed below. This course is available to academics, researchers and staff from all Divisions and Departments across the University:

  • Introduction to Public Engagement with Research (10 November 2016; 24 January 2017; 9 May 2017); book online here.

The Conversation Training

The Conversation is an online source of thought-provoking articles written by researchers and academics for the public in the UK and globally. Oxford is a member of The Conversation and receives regular opportunities for researchers to contribute articles and to take part in hands-on training to enhance writing and engagement skills:

Details on training for researchers from the Science Divisions is here.

Details on training for researchers from the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions is here.


Training within Divisions

Other training relevant to Public Engagement with Research within Divisions is as follows: 

Divisional training

Humanities (link)

  • Social media for impact
  • Public engagement summer school

MPLS (link)

  • Using social media to communicate your research
  • Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

 MSD (link)

  • Public speaking workshop

 Social Sciences (link)

  • Introduction to communicating your research and working with the media
  • Engaging media communications for academics
  • Knowledge Exchange discovery programme
  • Making a difference: exploring Knowledge Exchange and impact for social scientists
  • Digital Storytelling for social scientists

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 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.


Royal Society

Wellcome Trust

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

Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund

The University of Oxford's small grants scheme supports researchers to develop or pilot new Public Engagement with Research projects; improve existing Public Engagement with Research activity; evaluate ongoing Public Engagement with Research activities or gather evidence to demonstrate impact. 

A list of the funded projects for 2016-17 is provided here:

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.


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



 REF & impact

Working with the media