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Research Councils announce funding to enhance and embed support for public engagement with research within UK higher education institutes


Research Councils UK (RCUK) is pleased to announce the launch of the Strategic Support to Expedite Embedding Public Engagement with Research (SEE-PER) grants. This funding invited two types of approach from institutions to help enrich and embed cultures within Higher Education Institutions, firstly where excellent public engagement with research (PER) is supported, valued and rewarded and secondly where PER is integrated within institutional policies, practices and procedures. Funding from RCUK is provided for six months, with match funding from the institution extending the activity period for three to six months beyond that.

Projects to enhance and embed institutional support for PER

Building on the success of and learning from the RCUK PER Catalyst Seed Fund, Catalyst funding and the Beacons for Public Engagement (co-funded with the Wellcome Trust and UK funding councils), seven institutions (listed below with their Principal Investigators) have been awarded up to £60,000 to create, enrich and embed cultures within HEIs where excellent public engagement with research (PER) is more effectively and strategically supported:

  • Birkbeck College, University of London (Professor Miriam Zukas)
  • Heriot-Watt University (Professor Gareth Pender)
  • Keele University (Professor David Amigoni)
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Dame Anne Mills)
  • NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Dr Nick Wells)
  • University of Lincoln (Professor Carenza Lewis)
  • University of St Andrews (Professor John Woollins)

Projects addressing a specific PER support challenge

The funding also seeks to expand the existing knowledge about ‘what works’ in supporting public engagement with research by addressing specific challenge areas identified in the recent Factors Affecting Public Engagement by Researchers and State of Play reports. Five institutions (listed below with their identified challenge and Principal Investigator) have been awarded up to £60,000 to synthesise knowledge and pilot activity in their chosen challenge area:

  • University of Brighton (‘quality of public engagement with research’; Professor Tara Dean)
  • University College London (‘governance arrangements’; Professor David Price)
  • University of Bath (‘take up of training and CPD’; Professor Jonathan Knight)
  • University of Southampton (‘take up of training and CPD’; Professor Simon Spearing)
  • STFC – Laboratories (‘take up of training and CPD’; Dr Neil Geddes)

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement will provide a coordination and learning capture and dissemination function for the SEE-PER portfolio of projects

Dr Jenni Chambers, RCUK’s Head of Public Engagement with Research, said: “We are delighted to be able to support 12 high quality projects that will both deepen our understanding of how to effectively support excellent public engagement with research (PER) within universities and research institutes and to begin to tackle some of the remaining embedding challenges identified in the Factors Affecting Public Engagement by Researchers and State of Play research. We look forward to working with the funded institutions and the NCCPE to ensure learning from SEE-PER programme is effectively shared with the sector.”

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Further information


Claire Lane
Communications Manager, Research Councils UK

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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