Support for public engagement
Public Engagement with Research Funding Schemes
For details of funding schemes please visit the new PER Seed Fund Scheme pages.
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.
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.
'New to Oxford' PER Buddy Scheme
Welcome to Oxford! Need a hand getting to know the place? Sign up to the New to Oxford PER Buddy Scheme.
The ‘new to PER at Oxford buddy’ scheme is an informal and flexible way for those who are new, or relatively new, to Public Engagement with Research (PER) at Oxford. You’ll be connected to a buddy who can answer questions, introduce you to what's going on in terms of PER support, information and programmes that you might not otherwise be aware of, and just generally be a friendly face whilst you find your feet.
Oxford PER Buddy Scheme sign up form
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:
- Public engagement summer school
- The Conversation
- Knowledge Exchange
- 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.
- 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.
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).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- Engaging the public in science toolkit (Ipsos MORI)
- A guide to successful communications and communicating science: A scientist’s survival kit (European Commission)
- Vitae.ac.uk – Engaged Researcher Info guide
- 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)
- 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)
- Evaluation Handbook (W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
- 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)
- 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)