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Public Engagement with Research Catalysts

In 2008, RCUK partnered with the UK Funding Councils and Wellcome Trust on the Beacons for Public Engagement initiative (ending in December 2011). Six Beacons were established around the UK to pilot new methods to embed public engagement within their organisations, alongside the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. Following on from the success of the Beacons and recognising that further support was needed to embed public engagement within the sector, RCUK invested a further £2.4 million in Catalyst funding (April 2012- March 2015) this funding was intended to act as a catalyst for culture change within HEIs to help them embed public engagement with research within their policies, procedures and practices.

The aims of the Catalysts were to:

  • create a culture within the grant holding HEIs where excellent public engagement with research is formalised and embedded through:
    • strategic commitment to public engagement
    • integration of public engagement into core research activities of HEIs, including measuring quality and impact of public engagement with research activities
    • reward and recognition of researchers and staff involved in public engagement
    • encouraging and supporting researchers and staff at all levels to become involved (e.g. by building capacity for public engagement amongst researchers)
    • create networks within institutions to share good practice, celebrate their work and ensure that those involved in public engagement feel supported
    • contribute to a wider network supportive of public engagement including the NCCPE, other recipient HEIs and the wider HE community
  • build on experience to develop best practice that recognises the two-way nature of public engagement with research

The following HEIs were awarded funding:

Their final reports to document the progress they made and the lessons they learned can be accessed here.

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