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Further funding for embedding Public Engagement


Research Councils UK (RCUK) will be  launching a funding call to help better embed support for public engagement with research in higher education institutions  this spring.

The Strategic Support to Expedite Embedding Public Engagement with Research (SEE-PER) call will be open for a limited time, assessed by panel over summer 2017 with a view to activity commencing no later than 1 October 2017.

The total funding pot will be c. £700,000 and we are seeking to support 10-15 exceptionally high quality projects through the current financial year (to April 2018). Projects will be invited to reference learning and approaches to creating a culture supportive of public engagement with research demonstrated to be effective through the activities of the Beacons for Public Engagement, RCUK Public Engagement with Research (PER) Catalysts and RCUK PER Catalyst Seed Fund projects and the principles of the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research. Proposals should also reflect aspects of recent research, including the 2015 Factors Affecting Public Engagement by Researchers Survey (2015) and the State of Play report (2016). The full SEE-PER call document and guidance will be made available towards the end of May 2017. In the meantime we would encourage applicants to make links with relevant parts of their institutions to be in a position to make the most of the opportunities that this fund makes available. 

The SEE-PER call will be open to all UK Higher Education Institutions in receipt of RCUK funding, but will be limited to one application per institution. Where RCUK funding is highly concentrated in thematic areas within an institution we would strongly encourage proposals to also reflect this focus.  SEE-PER funding proposals should focus on developing and enhancing support mechanisms for public engagement with research  rather than delivery of public engagement activity. Proposals may allocate of up to 20% of the RCUK funding requested towards PER activity, but only where it enhances the approach to enriching and/or evidencing the effectiveness of the PER support mechanisms within the proposal.

We recognise that “culture change” activities of this nature require a longer duration than the six months of direct funding available in the coming call and for this reason proposals will be required to demonstrate:

  • institutional readiness to enhance their PER support offer
  • high levels of institutional commitment to creating conditions within their institutions more supportive of public engagement with research,
  • understanding of the current PER support mechanisms within their institution
  • strong legacy and sustainability planning for the wider adoption and internal roll out of the learning and practices developed over the funding period.

Proposals will evidence this commitment to enhancing the support offer for PER in their institution through, for example, a robust support letter from the institutional Vice Chancellor (or equivalent role), the locating of the Principle Investigator within the institution’s senior management team and a high proportion of leveraged funding (institutional funds and/or through appropriate alignment with other sources of funding supportive of public engagement such as Wellcome ISSF and knowledge exchange funding). We would encourage institutions to consider how this match funding component may be used to extend the activity period through the 2017/2018 academic year. We hope that this advance notification of the SEE-PER call will give institutions the necessary time to secure this commitment within their institutions.

The Natural Environment Research Council will also be launching a call at the end of May 2017 for projects to support NERC’s long-term commitment to public engagement, building strong engagement between members of the UK public, environmental science and researchers.

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Further information

RCUK Communications Team
Tel: 01793 444593 or email:

Notes to editors

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

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