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RCUK commits further funding for projects to strengthen public engagement with research


Research Councils UK (RCUK) is pleased to announce continuation funding of £600,000 for its Public Engagement with Research Catalyst Seed Fund, designed to support universities in strengthening their public engagement activities at a strategic level.

The RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund (CSF) was first established in 2015 to help create a culture where excellent public engagement with research is better embedded, supporting the institutions in receipt of funding to develop a strategic approach where public engagement with research is supported, valued and rewarded, as well as integrated within policies, practices and procedures.

The following 10 higher education institutions originally awarded CSF funding have now received up to £60,000 to continue their work following the review of refreshed business cases, which outlined the ways they will further develop the successes of their projects over the next 12 months. They have also committed match funding for these activities and will seek to develop strong sustainability and legacy plans during the continuation period.

Professor John Womersley, RCUK Champion for Public Engagement, said: “Public engagement with research can make a huge difference to the quality of research and its impact, by widening research horizons and increasing its relevance to society. This Fund supports the universities to gain a much better understanding of how researchers are working with different publics, builds capacity through networks, professional development and partnership working and resource creation. As a result, researchers and staff have felt more motivated and supported to undertake public engagement with research and rewarded for their successes.”

The institutional-level funding complements the support provided to researchers via the project and grant-based approach of individual Research Councils and RCUK PER programmes, as well as policy mechanisms such as the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research, the UK Charter for Science and Society and the Manifesto for Public Engagement. The inclusion of public engagement within Research Councils ‘Pathways to Impact’ and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) also provide drivers to encourage HEIs to value, recognise and support public engagement with research.

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Further information

RCUK Communications Team
Tel: 01793 444387 or email:

Notes to editors

  1. For more information on RCUK Public Engagement with Research, please visit

  2. The 10 institutions in receipt of RCUK Catalyst Seed funding are:

    • University of Birmingham
    • University of Cambridge
    • University of Glasgow
    • Imperial College London
    • King’s College London
    • University of Leeds
    • University of Liverpool
    • University of Oxford
    • University of Southampton
    • University of Warwick

  3. More information about each of the projects can be found at

  4. Sharing and dissemination of learning from the 10 RCUK PER CSF projects and the wider HE sector will continue to be facilitated by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

  5. The RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund (CSF) builds on the momentum generated from the investment in the Beacons for Public Engagement and the RCUK PER Catalysts to support a new cohort of HEIs.

  6. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

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