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
Applications to the fund (when open) are made through the Internal Research Awards Management System, IRAMS. Information for applicants on how to use IRAMS can be found on the Research Support website.
Summaries of the 2018-19 funded projects are available here: PER Seed Fund Projects 2018-19.pdf
Summaries of the 2017-18 funded projects are available here: PER Seed Fund Project Summaries 17_18.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Support for researchers, DPhil students and professional services staff for evaluation of Public Engagement with Research (PER) and gathering evidence of impact.
Registration information will be shared through the PER digest, the University's monthly email newsletter. To subscribe please email email@example.com with "Start PER Digest" in the subject line.
Breakfast Evaluation Club
- The Breakfast Evaluation Club is 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.
Thursday 16 May, 10.00-11.30, Pitt Rivers Museum (The Balfour Room)
Tuesday 16 July, 9.30-11.00, Oxford Big Data Institute (Old Road Campus)
Workshop: Evaluating Tabletop Displays
- This workshop will explore a range of methods for evaluating pop-up displays and exhibitions.
Wednesday 19 June, [venue tbc]
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
Contact: Annaleise Depper (PER Evaluation Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
- Public engagement summer school
- The Conversation
Social Sciences (link):
- Knowledge Exchange
- 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.
- Introduction to public engagement
- Public engagement in practice
- Meet the scientists
- Communication and media skills
- Writing about your research
- Engaging with schools
For other external training available, visit the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) website.
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:
Evaluating Public Engagement with Research: why, how and when to evaluate?
Saïd Business School, Tuesday 5th March 2019, 9.30 - 11.30
Evaluation can be used to collect evidence and reflect on public engagement with research (PER). When used effectively, evaluation can help you evidence the impact of PER, support future funding applications and ensure engagement is fit for purpose and participants. But how does evaluation work in practice?
Join us at the next PER Forum to find out:
- Why evaluate PER
- How to evaluate the impacts and outcomes of PER
- How to ensure evaluation is relevant and engaging for different audiences and groups
- What evaluation looks like in practice – hear from academics who will share examples of high-quality engagement that has been evaluated
To book your place at the Forum, please complete this registration form.
Timings and Format
9.10 - 9.30am: Registration & refreshments (tea, coffee and pastries)
9.30 - 10.30am: Introduction to PER evaluation & Panel deliberations
10.30 – 11.10am: Facilitated small group discussions & feedback
11.10 - 11.30am: Feedback & discussion
Who should attend?
Researchers; Public Engagement Facilitators; Impact Officers. This event is for those who are new to or inexperienced in evaluating PER.
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 email@example.com 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
Early Career Researchers: when to get engaged?
The first PER Forum took place on the 12th December 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.
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
- Engaging the public in science toolkit (Ipsos MORI)
- Public engagement training handbook (BBSRC)
- A guide to successful communications and communicating science: A scientist’s survival kit (European Commission)
- Vitae.ac.uk – Engaged Researcher Info guide
- Researcher’s guide engagement (Heritage Afterlife)
- Engaging the public with your research (NERC)
- Dialogue with the public: Practical guidelines (RCUK)
- Inspiration to engage - Concordat for engaging the public with research (RCUK)
- What's in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers (RCUK)
- The road ahead: Public dialogue on science and technology (Sciencewise)
- Community Planning Toolkit (Community Places)
- Factors affecting public engagement by researchers (Wellcome Trust)
- Community engagement: Improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities (NICE)
- Engaging the public with engineering - A Practical Guide (British Science Association & RAE)
- A guide to good practice in public engagement with physics (IOP)
- The impact of social sciences blog (LSE)
Citizen science / public involvement
- A guide to citizen science (UK Environmental Observation Framework)
- People & participation - How to put citizens at the heart of decision-making (Involve)
- Community-university participatory research partnerships: Co-inquiry and related approaches (Durham)
- Patient & public involvement guidance (NIHR)
Working with young people
- Outreach: A guide to Working with Schools & Colleges (HE Academy)
- Engaging Young People with Cutting Edge Research (RCUK)
- Evaluation: Practical Guidelines (BIS / RCUK)
- Evaluation: Practical Guidelines (RCUK)
- A guide for successfully evaluating science engagement events (Wellcome Trust)
- Making a Difference: A guide to evaluating public participation in central government (DCA)
- A guide to evaluating your Ingenious project (RAE)
- Evaluating Science and Society Initiatives: A Framework for Evaluation (ESRC)
- A guide to evaluating arts education projects (Arts Council)
- Guidance for artists and arts organisations on assessing the quality of activities provided for children and young people (Arts Council)
- Evaluation toolkit for the voluntary and community arts in Northern Ireland (Arts Council of Northern Ireland)
- Evaluation Handbook (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
- Evaluation methodology (APSRC)
- Public Engagement Evaluation Guide (University of Manchester)
- First Steps in Monitoring and Evaluation (Charities Evaluation Services)
- Impact Toolkit (ESRC)
- Briefing Paper: Auditing, Benchmarking and Evaluating Public Engagement (NCCPE)
REF & impact
- Research Impact Toolkit (online) (ESRC)
- Update on Public Engagement and the REF (NCCPE)
- Discussion Paper: Assessing impacts arising from public engagement with research (NCCPE)
- After the REF - Taking Stock: summary of feedback (NCCPE)
Working with the media
- Why engage with the media? (Science Media Centre)
- Top tips for Media Work - A guide for Scientists (Science Media Centre)
- Working with the Media: A guide to best practice (ESRC)
- Practical guides to science communication (SciDevNet)
- Social Science and Media Wiki
- Guide to working with the media (Wellcome Trust)
- Going Public - An introduction to communicating STEM (Office of Science & Technology)
- Media Training Handbook (BBSRC)
- Engaging young people with cutting edge research: A guide for researchers and teachers (RCUK)