Support for 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 researchers

Enriching Engagement Grants Scheme

Enriching Engagement is a new pilot Wellcome-funded grants programme open to Wellcome grant holders and awardees at the University of Oxford, to develop and deliver Public Engagement with Research projects.

This pilot will offer a new way of encouraging, supporting and awarding Wellcome Public Engagement Enrichment grants.

The first call for funding will open in June 2019; with a second call for funding in early 2020. Two levels of funding will be available: £10k - £30k and £50k - £100k.

This is a grants scheme with a difference:

  • no lengthy written applications required - just great ideas and effective project planning
  • workshops and one-to-one surgeries to inspire and shape your thinking (including those new to public engagement)
  • no written reviews and closed panels - all applicants will be invited to discuss their proposal directly with the funding committee members.

Find out more by attending an Enriching Engagement Taster Session

This session will be your opportunity to learn about this programme, explore the support available, and hear from senior academics about the benefits of public engagement.

  • Tuesday 4th June 2019, 2pm - 3pm, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, Old Road Campus
  • Friday 7th June 2019, 2pm - 3pm, University Offices, Wellington Square.

To register, please email publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk, noting which session you would like to attend and include your email signature.

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 fund is currently closed for applications and the next call is expected to be in September 2019.

The guidelines for the previous 2018-19 funding round are provided here for reference: PER Seed Fund Guidelines 2018-19 FINAL.pdf

Summaries of the 2018-19 funded projects are available here: PER Seed Fund Projects 2018-19.pdf

Project summaries from the Final Reports of the 2016-17 projects are here, including lessons learnt: PER Seed Fund Final Project Report Summaries 2016-17.pdf

Any queries? Please email publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk

Research Council

Public Engagement with Research (PER) activities can be included and resourced as part of Research Council grant applications via the following mechanisms:

  • the Impact Summary and Pathways to Impact section
  • the case for support where public engagement forms part of the research process
  • as a work package of a larger grant, such as a programme grant

Guidance for applying for PER activities through Pathways to Impacts can be found here.

The guidance includes what information to provide in your Pathways to Impact section; a list of example PER costings; FAQs and a PER planning template.

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.

Evaluation Training

Training is provided throughout the year to support researchers, DPhil students and professional services staff for evaluation of Public Engagement with Research (PER) and gathering evidence of impact. Find out about current opportunities on the Evaluation support tab.

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

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

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

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.

The Forum

The Forum is a termly series of events for Oxford's research community to explore and debate Public Engagement with Research practice and policy and provide opportunities for sharing learning and networking.

Details of the next event are provided below:

PER FORUM: Develop your Impact Case Study for REF 2021 – Public Engagement - 06 June 2019

This session is for members of Oxford’s research community to build, develop or enhance their potential REF 2021 Impact Case Study with respect to Public Engagement.

The session will offer expert advice, top tips and enable participants to enhance their understanding of impacts arising from public engagement and how they can be evidenced; provide focused time-out and support to develop an Impact Case Study; to identify gaps and develop a plan for improvement; and share the learning from the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, NCCPE, regarding best practice in public engagement impact case studies.

We are encouraging researchers and professional services staff to attend together as a pair and to work on developing the ICS together. 

Book your place here.

Who should attend?

Academics, Researchers; Professional Services Staff involved in supporting Impact Case Study development (e.g. Public Engagement Facilitators; Impact Officers etc).

When will the next Forum take place?

The Forum will occur once a term at different times (to help accommodate staff with differing work/life circumstances), try out different formats (debates, workshops etc) and discuss a range of topics.

If you would like to keep up to date with news of the next Forum, you can sign up the PER Digest, a monthly email newsletter with PER updates and opportunities. To subscribe please email publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk with "Start PER Digest" in the subject line.

We would welcome ideas and suggestions for future PER Forum topics; please do let us know via the same email as above. 

Previous PER Forums

Evaluating Public Engagement with Research: why, how and when to evaluate?

The second PER Forum took place on the 5th March 2019 and explored why we should evaluate PER, how to evaluate the impact and outcomes of PER, how to ensure evaluation is relevant and engaing for different audience groups and what best practice evaluation looked like.

Early Career Researchers: when to get engaged?

The first PER Forum took place on the 12th December 2018 and explored the place of public engagement as an Early Career Researcher. The event brought together a panel of academics experienced in PER to explore; what are the pros and cons for ECRs undertaking PER and how can we improve research culture to enable ECRs to pursue their public engagement aspirations.

See here for more opportunities and support for ECRs in PER.

Evaluation

Support for researchers, DPhil students and professional services staff for evaluation of Public Engagement with Research (PER) and gathering evidence of impact.

Breakfast Evaluation Club

Looking for inspiration and ideas for evaluating a public engagement with research (PER) activity? Planning an activity and not sure where to start with evaluation? Facing an evaluation challenge?

Join us at the Breakfast Evaluation Club, an informal drop-in to discuss all things PER evaluation. Pop by for advice on how to get started, evaluating a specific project, feedback on evaluation plans or to discuss your evaluation challenges. *Tea/ coffee and croissants provided.

The drop-ins are facilitated by Annaleise Depper (PER Evaluation Officer, Research Services) and Rob Coates (PER Evaluation Officer for Gardens, Libraries and Museums).

Do I need to register?

There's no need to register - just turn up!

Who should attend?

Researchers; Public Engagement Facilitators; Impact Officers; Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) staff.

Next drop-ins: 

Tuesday 16 July, 9.30-11.00, [venue tbc] (up the hill)

Workshop: Evaluating Tabletop Displays

This workshop will explore a range of creative tools for evaluating pop-up displays and exhibitions, and will include:

  • Practical examples of previous evaluations and different creative evaluation tools.
  • Advice on how to evidence outcomes and different types of impact arising from your activity, and how to utilise evaluation to reflect, learn and improve activities.
  • Guidance on how to plan an evaluation for your own activity.

This workshop is for researchers and academic staff who are planning, developing or running tabletop displays or exhibitions to engage the public with research.

Wednesday 19 June, 9.30-12.30, Pitt Rivers Museum (Balfour Room)

To book your place at the workshop, please complete this registration form http://bit.ly/2Huyu9P by 12 June

Introduction to: Evaluating PER

  • This seminar will provide an introduction to PER Evaluation. What is evaluation? Why is it important to evaluate impact? How do I evaluate engagement? Find out about a range of practical examples and advice for good evaluation practice.

Tuesday 15 October, 14.00-15.00, Oxford Big Data Institute (Old Road Campus)

Workshop: Evaluating Events and Performances

  • Explore how to evidence the impact of your event and whether the public audiences have changed in any way, such as gained knowledge or changed their attitudes and perceptions.

Thursday 5 December, 9.30-12.30, Wellington Square

If you have any questions about evaluation training, please contact: Annaleise Depper (PER Evaluation Officer) annaleise.depper@admin.ox.ac.uk

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 Patrick Grant, who as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research is responsible for public engagement, and with a network of academic ambassadors from across the University.

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