No one researcher journey is the same and we are here to support your public engagement priorities what ever they are! We've mapped out one journey to help you see the support we can offer.
1. Get started and build your confidence
- Public engagement is increasingly seen as an important part of any research career – with the potential to inspire others and give you the skills and insight to improve your research and make it more relevant. The vast majority of researchers find it worthwhile and enjoyable to!
- Funders and employers expect it. We now see a growing requirement for public engagement training at the start of your research, all the way through to it being a criteria used for promotion at senior academic level.
- The best and most useful public engagement happens when you plan! So we ask you to think carefully why you want to engage and what skills and experience will you need to engage well.
- Take our Engaged Researcher Introductory Courses to gain skills and understanding.
- Talk to others who have PE experience to find out what it entails and the potential benefits to you and your research.
- Find out if there is a person in your department or school who has responsibility for public engagement, see how they can support your work and find out if there are public engagement activities you can contribute to, to gain experience and skills.
- Check out the central public engagement team website to find out how we can support your public engagement priorities.
- Check out the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) website for ideas and inspiration.
2. Use our platforms and resources to increase your skills and to test out new ideas and activities
- Talk to a public engagement coordinator in your department, school or the central team about your ideas.
- Are there local/ national/ international programmes you can take part in to gain experience – programmes run by the central PE team or those in your department or college (including school visits as part of access or widening participation activities) or those run by external organisations?
- Consider how to fund your PE activity. Do you have access to grant funding or other external funding through your department, college, research councils, professional bodies, charities etc? Or does your activity fulfil the criteria for our central PE Starter Grant?
- Take part in our interdisciplinary Cambridge Festival through departmental activities or as an individual researcher and gain the experience and skills you need to engage well.
3. Conduct informative, consultative and co-produced engagement with a defined audience
- Sign up for Engaged Researcher Masterclasses to develop your skills. Let us know if there are other subjects you would like us to include.
- Keep talking with PE coordinators and other researchers to share best practice and experiences.
- Are there particular audiences who you would like to engage with? Think both how these engagements would benefit the audience but also how these interactions would benefit and improve your public engagement activity, your research and your understanding too.
- Sign up for relevant training to develop the specific skills needed to engage with non-university partners.
- Investigate which PE formats are most relevant for your audience, you and your research.
- Think about what the barriers for engagement are for the audiences and for you. Consider how you might address these. Are there external partners or organisations who could help you engage?
- Would creative forms of engagement work as a format to share your research? If yes, take part in relevant training and consider applying for our Cambridge Creative Encounters grants.
- Consider how to fund your PE activity - grant funding or other external funding through your department, college, research councils, professional bodies, charities etc? Or does your activity fulfil the criteria for our PE Starter Grant?
- Use the Cambridge Festival as a platform to disseminate results of your research, test out new activity ideas, and recruit people as participants to your PE activity etc.
- Many external funders favour projects that have been piloted already and our PE Starter Grant and Cambridge Festival are brilliant ways to fund and test ideas out.
4. Move to engaged research
- Obtain bespoke advice from a PE coordinator in your department, school or the central team.
- Explore issues of equity and ethics and how we can redress power and privilege in engagement through our Rising Stars course or our international Collaborative Futures Academy.
- Share your experience and knowledge with other researchers.
- Make contact with relevant other professional services staff – PPI teams, Impact and REF teams, Cambridge Enterprise etc. The central PE team can help broker this.
- Consider whether your activity needs ethical approval. If yes, speak to your local or school ethics committee.
- Include PE costs as part of research grant applications. If you are collaborating with external partners, particularly if they are community organisations or charities, don’t forget to include their costs too. Apply for additional funding through, for example: professional bodies, charities, impact acceleration funds and PE starter grants,
- PE is considered as part of recruitment and promotion in the Academic Career Progression scheme so keep detailed records of your PE activity and evaluation for this, for research publications and potentially for REF.
- Present your work as a case study online and at our PE Conference.
- Apply for the Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement to gain recognition for your engaged research.
We love to talk (lots!).
Please get in touch, we’re here to help you engage effectively.