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What is Public Engagement with Research?

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Public engagement with research is the process of informing and involving members of the general public with your research. As public engagement often happens right at the end of the research cycle, it can suffer from a lack of planning and, consequently, has little impact. However since the purpose of public engagement is to inform, inspire, consult, listen and collaborate, it can be integrated into the research plan from the outset, or at any point onwards. The ensures that the public are not only aware of the output of the research, they can also be involved in the development of it.

What difference will it make?

By engaging with the public about your research, you will see a number of benefits:

  • Improve your research
  • Enhance its impact
  • Raise your research profile
  • Get engaged with your research goals
  • Gain new perspectives on your research
  • Open new avenues of funding
  • Change the nature of your collaboration with other
  • Forge new partnerships
  • Inspire budding researchers

How do I engage with the public?

There is no best way to engage with the public. It depends on the research you are doing, who you are engaging with, and what you want to say. Here are some tips to help you decide on your public engagement plan:

  • Plan for public engagement at the outset of the project
  • Build activities into the research project at all stages
  • Take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with organisations already engaged with the public - e.g. libraries, museums, local businesses, events and festivals
  • Seek out 'champions' who are not involved with your research but who can see its benefits and will actively engage with others to promote it
  • Dedicate project time and resources to public engagement
  • Use the resources and staff already provided by the University to help you engage with public. Take part in training sessions, use the website, ask for help, apply for funding.