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

Type of activities

Public engagement onion; developed by the Wellcome Trust

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. Potentially interested members of the public can be recruited by researchers organising or participating in engagement events, or the engagement can provide an opportunity to develop new research ideas.

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 guidances 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.

Planning an event

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.

 

Holding an 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. The overview for 2020 can be found here.

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.