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

 Enriching Engagement Grants Scheme

Embedding Awards special round now open; Round 4 opening June 2021.

Key dates: 

  • Round 4 opens: 17 June 2021
  • Embedding Awards deadline for Expressions of Interest: 1 July 2021
  • Embedding Awards deadline for invited fully developed applications: September 2021
  • Round 4 closes: 16 September 2021

Enriching Engagement is a pilot 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 funding scheme provides a new way of encouraging, supporting and awarding Wellcome Public Engagement Enrichment grants.

In summer 2020 this pilot received an additional £750,000 from Wellcome to run further funding rounds of the scheme. Enriching Engagement will continue to be a funding scheme with a difference, with a series of workshops to support researchers of any Public Engagement with Research experience level to develop their ideas and an innovative light-touch application process that will help you communicate your passion, as well as your plans.

The Enriching Engagement team hosted an online event on 24 November to introduce Oxford researchers to community organisations they could potentially collaborate with. If you are an Oxford researcher looking for a community partner for your Enriching Engagement funding application and missed this event, but would like assistance in connecting with potential community collaborators, email publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Pre-Application Support workshops:

Pre-application support workshops for Round 4 of Enriching Engagement are available and strongly recommended for all applicants. 1:1 support for prospective applicants (Wellcome funded researchers, or people from their team) is also available until the 16 September 2021 Round 4 deadline.

Email publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk to register for the workshops or 1:1 support.

Workshop dates:

Embedding Awards: special round summer 2021

The Embedding Awards are a special round of Enriching Engagement, for projects from £150k- £300k. Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for Embedding Awards are due 1 July 2021; a funding panel in July will assess them and invite a select few to proceed in developing full applications, which will be due in September.  

An info session for prospective applicants will be held on Tuesday 18 May 1 - 1.30 pm; fill out this form to register.

A key feature of Embedding Award projects is that they will work closely with an external partner(s). For the full criteria, eligibility, and other application guidance, see the Embedding Awards Application Guidance document linked below.  

It is expected that all prospective EOI submissions for Embedding Awards will work closely with Oxford public engagement staff to develop their proposal. Contact the university’s central Public Engagement with Research team at publicengagement@admin.ox.ac.uk for assistance with proposal development and connecting with departmental public engagement staff as appropriate.  

Key dates:

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) due: 1 July 2021

EOIs are to be submitted via IRAMS and include a completed EOI form: 

Further Information 

Project summaries of the funded projects for Round 1 - 3 are here:

Further details on the scheme process and application documents are provided below:

  • no lengthy written applications required - just great ideas and effective project planning
  • workshops and one-to-one surgeries to inspire and shape your thinking
  • open to those that are new to public engagement; and those with experience in this area
  • no anonymous written reviews and closed panels - applicants are invited to discuss their proposal directly with the funding committee members.

Applications are submitted through IRAMS:

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

Departmental PER Seed Fund

Opened January 2021 - rolling deadline

The Departmental PER Seed Fund is an internal grant scheme to support building capacity for Public Engagement with Research (PER) at the departmental level. 

Applications are invited from those representing departments / faculties (hereafter referred to as ‘departments’) and applicants can be any staff member employed in that department including researchers, public engagement professionals and other staff.

This scheme opened for applications in January 2021 on a rolling basis. All awarded funds must be spent by 30 July 2021.

Proposed budgets may be between £1,500 and £4,000. Funds can be requested to support activities and projects that build research staff and research student capacity in Public Engagement with Research and/or activities that contribute to ongoing departmental support for Public Engagement with Research. 

How to apply

Applications are submitted through IRAMS.

The Application Guidance, Case for Support, and EDGE Guidance are available here:

 Any queries? Please email hanna.smyth@admin.ox.ac.uk

Awarded projects

Summaries of the projects awarded Departmental PER Seed Funding thus far are as follows:

English Faculty: Dr Stuart Lee & Prof. Carolyne Larrington

"Expanding the Capacity for the English Faculty’s Great Writers Inspire Podcasts: Pilot Study and Recommendations"

This project seeks to test drive a public engagement model for the English faculty: mapping out the process by which a research cluster can streamline the creation of podcasts to increase public engagement with research, solicit contributions amongst research students and professional support staff, and engage younger students with Faculty research activities and resources. Using its existing Fantasy Literature cluster as a pilot Dr Caroline Batten, working with Dr Stuart Lee and Professor Carolyne Larrington, will produce a series of new podcast episodes and teaching resource packs as proof of concept, creating diverse and expansive content for the Faculty’s Great Writers Inspire and with links to the University’s OxPLORE initiative. Importantly, Dr Batten will produce a report evaluating the project’s workflow and impact, providing a blueprint for future English Faculty PER projects that will benefit staff and students across a wide variety of research areas. Oxford plays a starring role in the history of fantasy literature, and since 2018 the English Faculty’s fantasy research cluster, headed by Larrington and Lee, has sought to draw on Oxford’s rich resources to foreground exciting new work on fantasy literature and showcase new authors in podcasts, videos, and lectures accessible to the public.

Reuben College: Dr Catarina Vicente & Janet Stott

"PER student programme at Reuben College"

Reuben College is the newest graduate college in Oxford, focusing on interdisciplinary research addressing 21st century challenges. Unusually for a college, Public Engagement with Research (PER) is a strategic focus of Reuben, and the college is currently exploring how PER in a college setting can be both distinct and add value to the PER provision in departmental and divisional settings. Areas of focus include both interdisciplinary PER and a space for scholarly explorations of PER. Our application from the Departmental PER Seed Fund aims to support the development of our student PER programme. Specifically, it will help us develop our Introduction to PER workshop, which will be offered to all new students as part of Reuben’s weekly skills workshop series, as well as our student PER innovation fund, where small funds will be available for students to develop their own interdisciplinary PER projects under the mentorship of a Fellow at Reuben.

Public Engagement with Research Seed Fund

Applications are currently closed.

The University of Oxford's small grants scheme provides funds for researchers to develop, deliver and evaluate Public Engagement with Research projects and activities.

Applications are welcome from those new to or experienced in Public Engagement with Research. Funds (typically £2k to £4k) can be requested to pilot a new project or enhance an existing activity.

How to apply

The call for applications opened on 3 August 2020, and closed on 23 October 2020.  

Applications are submitted through IRAMS.

The Guidelines and case support for 2020 are available here:

Previous projects

Summaries of the 2020-21 funded projects (microsite)

Summaries of the 2019-20 funded projects are available here:

Project summaries from the Final Reports of the 2018-19 projects are here, including lessons learnt:

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

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 (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.

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

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

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

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 engaging 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.

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