Beacons for Public Engagement are university-based collaborative centres to help
support, recognise, reward and build capacity for public engagement work across
the UK. Together with our partners, the UK funding councils and the Wellcome Trust,
we are investing into this initiative in order to support a step-change
in recognition for public engagement across the higher education sector. There are
six Beacons around the UK, and one National Co-ordinating Centre.
For more information about the initiative read our
or visit the
National Co-ordinating Centre website.
An independent review of the Beacons has now been carried out by People Science
and Policy. A copy of the review document is available here.
The Beacons were asked to provide final reports and evaluations to document the lessons they learned. These can be accessed here.
The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement
The National Co-ordinating Centre is made up of the University of Bristol, University
of the West of England and other partners. The National Co-ordinating Centre will
build networks across the other Beacons and provide a single point of contact as
well as an overview of their activities. It will also work strategically with key
national partners who are also interested in understanding and listening to audiences
better and generating knowledge with them. These organisations, including the BBC,
the Museums, Libraries and Archives, and the volunteering organisation v,
AlphaGalileo and Involve will help to professionalise how Higher Education engages
with the public.
National Co-ordinating Centre website.
The Beacons for Public Engagement
Beacon North East
Beacon North East is a partnership between Newcastle University, Durham University
and the Centre for Life and local community groups, to pioneer a series of conversations
informing key research issues such as: energy and the environment; social inclusion
and social justice; and ageing and vitality.
University of Manchester / Manchester Metropolitan / University of Salford
/ Museum of Science and Industry / Manchester:Knowledge Capital
The Manchester Beacon's activities will be shaped and informed by the creativity
and dynamism of the people of Manchester and Salford to ensure that all members
of the community, particularly residents from the poorest and most excluded
neighbourhoods, benefit from their work.
They will focus on "reaching out", "listening to" and "learning from" local
people. Their programme of activities will be delivered in partnership with
a wide range of local businesses, sports clubs, cultural venues, community groups
and media organisations.
University of Edinburgh / Heriot-Watt University / Napier University /
UHI Millennium Institute and other partners
Edinburgh Beltane, the Beacon in Scotland, aims to encourage citizen participation
and understanding of areas of research relevant to public policy such as health
and life sciences, energy and environment. It will bring together researchers
in medicine and the sciences and engineering with those in social sciences,
arts and humanities. This will ensure breakthroughs in technology, medicines
and treatments, and that new discoveries about big issues such as global warming
are described in a human context that relates to health and the environment
we live in.
University of Cardiff / University of Glamorgan / Amgueddfa Cymru – National
Museum Wales / BBC Wales / Techniquest
The Beacon for Wales will be a collaborative public engagement programme for
Higher Education Institutions in Wales. Their plans include the establishment
of a Wales Higher Education Engagement Network (WHEEN) to provide opportunities
for HE staff and students to network and share ideas on public engagement ;
the appointment of a high-level champion for public engagement, working with
senior staff and university management to negotiate any necessary changes in
policies and employment practices; the establishment of an awards system recognising
engagement excellence in a variety of sectors; and four pilot projects to test
approaches to new audiences and new techniques.
University College London / Southbank Centre / British Museum and other
UCL's plans include tailored training courses designed to empower staff and
students to be part of the ongoing dialogue between researchers and the public,
and the use of space on main routes of their campus for public activities, tours
Their partners, the British Museum, the Southbank Centre, Birkbeck College,
Cheltenham Science Festival, Arts Catalyst and City and Islington College -
provide a unique grouping of expertise, networks and contacts which give them
opportunities for wide engagement with the general public, and also for focused
work with small groups, including some of London's most disadvantaged communities.
University of East Anglia and other partners
UEA and partners, as CUE East (Community University Engagement East) will establish
a one-stop shop for the public, located in 'The Forum' at the heart of Norwich,
alongside the UK's most successful regional library and the BBC's regional offices
Their overall theme will be sustainable living, with a priority target audience
of pupils, teachers and parents.
The twenty two external partners, including the East of England Development
Agency, Business in the Community and BBC East will play a vital role in their
delivery programme and critical thinking.
For more information please contact the RCUK PER Team via our contacts page.