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 Public Engagement

Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund

The PER Seed Fund is currently closed for applications and is expected to open again in Autumn 2022.

 For more details please visit the new PER Seed Fund Scheme pages.

PER Culture Change Fund

The PER Culture Change Fund is currently open for applications on a rolling basis from September 2021 to May 2022.

For more details please visit the new PER Culture Change Fund Scheme pages.

 Enriching Engagement Grants Scheme

This pilot scheme has now ended. Final application deadline was 16 September 2021.

This scheme has now closed. For more details of awardees and processes, please visit the Enriching Engagement scheme pages.

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. 

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 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.

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 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 Training:

  • Public engagement summer school
  • The Conversation

 Social Sciences Training:

  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Impact
  • The Conversation

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities - TORCH Training

  • 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.

Evaluation

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

For evaluation resources, please visit the Research Support webpages (single sign-on required).

Online sharing forum: Evaluating virtual festivals and online events

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 10:00-11:30, Online 

This Online Sharing Forum will provide an opportunity for researchers and engagement practitioners to share, learn and develop your own ideas for tools and approaches that can be used to evaluate virtual festivals and online Public Engagement with Research events. 

To book your place on the Online Sharing Forum, please complete this Online sharing forum registration form by the 19 March. 

Previous Evaluation Training

Webinar: Introduction to Evaluation

This webinar took place in November 2020 and provided an overview of evaluation; examples of evaluation tools (including those that can be used for online activities) and advice on getting started with evaluating Public Engagement with Research. 

Webinar: A Recipe for Evaluating Online Citizen Science

This workshop provided specific guidance on evaluating an online citizen science project to gather evidence of outcomes and impact and how to improve activities. We shared how we planned and conducted an actual evaluation of the Planet Hunters citizen science project from 'The Zooniverse', to enable researchers and engagement practitioners to adapt the methodology for their own citizen science project. 

The webinar took place via Zoom in June 2020.  A recording of the webinar is available here: Evaluation resources for public engagement with research (single sign-on required).

Introduction to: Evaluating PER

This seminar provided an introduction to evaluation and advice on how to get started with planning an effective evaluation. The first seminar took place at the Big Data Institute in October 2019, and a second took place in March 2020 at the Radcliffe Humanities Quarter.

Breakfast Evaluation Club

The Breakfast Evaluation Club was an informal drop-in to discuss all things PER evaluation. The drop-ins took place in May and July 2019 and provided advice on how to get started on evaluating a specific project; feedback on evaluation plans; and an opportunity to discuss evaluation challenges over a cuppa and croissant.

Workshop: Evaluating Tabletop Displays

This half-day workshop took place on 19 June 2019, and explored a range of creative tools for evaluating pop-up displays and exhibitions. The workshop provided practical examples of previous evaluations; and guidance on how to plan an evaluation for tabletop displays.

If you have any questions about evaluation support, please contact: Dr Annaleise Wood (Depper), Engagement and Evaluation Facilitator, Public Engagement with Research, Research Services: annaleise.wood@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