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All the School’s members are signatories of the Manifesto for Public Engagement, showing a commitment to meaningful public engagement. Just like public involvement, public engagement can occur through the research cycle to gain input from the public and disseminate research outcomes.

Getting Started

Before you get started you will want to think about what you want to achieve through public engagement. Different goals often require different approaches. Some questions you might want to think about include: 

  • What do you want to achieve? (e.g. raise awareness, spark curiosity, change attitudes, share skills) 
  • Who do you want to engage with? (is it a large or small group of people?, is it people with a specific lived experience or the general public?)
  • What are the main messages I want people to take away? 

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has developed a quick guide to developing high quality public engagement which helps to guide you through the process of planning, running and evaluating a public engagement activity. 


Type of activities

Onion model - circles get larger and containing categories of activity. Sallest circles are claseed as dialogue moving to the larger circles which are information. 

Co-poroducing - Shared decision making, Participative action research, Partnership
Collaborating - Committe representation, Stakeholder dialogue, Taking public as researchers (citizen science)
Informing Decision Making - People's panels, Focus group on research topic, Advisory / user committee, Citizen jury
Understanding Thinking - Opinion polls, Consultations, Attitude research, Social research, Surveys
Stimulating Thinking - Exhibitions, Education programme, Science centres, Theatre in education, Public debate, Interactive websites, Sciart
Informing / Inspiring - Lectures / talks, Festivals, Social media, Podcasts, News/newspaper coverage, Library resources, Magazine article, Newsletters, TV programme, Website

A public engagement activity can stand on its own or be used as a mean to lead to involvement by establishing links with the public before a research project begins.

There is a wide range of engagement activities. Engagement activities can aim to inform the public, consult them or work with members of the public.

RRI Tools has developed toolkit and Engage2020 has developed an Action Catalogue, both containing various examples and methods to engage with the public.

There are also guidance available for specific engagement activities, such as creating an engagement space in an empty shop.

The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement provides supporting information for various engagement methods.

Running an engagement activity 

In order to hold an engagement event, you have to create an engagement plan. The first steps in planning your engagement event is identifying your audience, what the (key) messages are you want to engage with, how you would like to engage and what are your measures of success.

There are various other elements to take into account when planning an engagement event, such as your budget and venue. You can consider working with partners, such as artists or local community groups, to make your event more creative, accessible and approachable for your target audience.

You can use the logic model to structure your engagement plan. The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network published some top tips for planning engagement events.


Evaluating your activity

It recommended to include evaluation plan and make references to your plan when evaluating the activity. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement has written a blog on evaluating public engagement activities and shares various resources to evaluate your engagement activities.


Join an existing engagement event

There are a number of organisations running engagement events throughout the year, and they often look for academic volunteers to run activities.

If you would like to develop an event as part of a bigger science programme or contribute at an engagement event you can check the following websites:

There are many national campaigns and awareness days of various disease areas. You could consider partnering up with others to support these campaigns.



Especially within public engagement, you could consider working with an artist to make your research accessible, provide alternative ways of visualising your outcomes and reach new audiences. THIS Institute has published "Arts-based engagement: a guide for community groups, artists and researchers". There are also blogs, organisations you can reach out to about science-art collaborations (such as Design Science) and various examples and inspiration can be found on X (formerly known as Twitter) when looking for #sciart.

STEM ambassadors

If you are keen to inspire and engage with a younger audience, you can become a STEM ambassador. STEM ambassadors bring STEM subjects to life and demonstrate the value of them in life and careers by engaging with young people inside and out of the classroom.