Public Engagement

Internal funding

funding image

The Public Engagement Unit releases around £25,000 each year to fund engagement projects through a variety of funding calls.

Our Start-Up Fund is currently open:

Start-Up Call Guidance

Start-Up Application Form

Since 2013, the Public Engagement Unit has invested over £50,000 in a range of engaged research projects. The projects have been run by researchers at all levels, from postgraduates to professors. Case studies and blogs from projects that have now concluded are available.

2017/18 Start-Up Fund - Currently open

Our Start-Up Fund supports researchers (including postgraduate researchers) wishing to engage with a specific public for the first time. Funding (up to a maximum of £200) can be spent on activities that help create conditions for productive conversations about common research interests / challenges from which public engagement with research projects might arise.

Example start-up activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel costs to meet the potential public partner(s)
  • A networking meal
  • Venue hire for partnership-building activities
  • Attendance at a pre-existing networking event that includes the potential public partner(s)
  • Covering costs (e.g. time / travel) for the potential public partner(s) to meet with you

The funding is not provided to conduct public engagement activities rather, to foster relationships that might lead to public engagement with research projects.  

Read the Call Guidance and download an Application Form. A total pot of £4,000 is available for this call across 2017/18. The call will remain open until all this money has been assigned.

2017/18 Innovate Fund

Our Innovate Fund aims to support up to two, £10,000 public engagement with research projects focused on the Bath & North East Somerset area. Through the call, we look to fund ambitious projects that involve collaborative, participatory activities that creatively engage local publics with our research. Ideally, funded projects shed light on global challenges through local perspectives and vice versa.

For 2017/18, this funding call has now closed. Funding will be assigned through a "sandpit" process that will take place on Monday 30th October, 9.30am to 4pm. The sandpit will involve no more than 30 people who will come from a wide variety of backgrounds: university researchers selected to attend through this funding call alongside invited members of local civil society organisations.

The criteria for participant selection were:

  • A demonstrable enthusiasm for public engagement;
  • Experience of public engagement commensurate with career stage;
  • The ability to work in interdisciplinary teams;
  • A willingness to take risks and a creative mind-set;
  • The ability to explain research to non-experts;
  • A commitment to engaged research that brings benefits to the local economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life;
  • A willingness to attend the sandpit for its entirety (Monday 30 October, 9.30am – 4pm). Due to group dynamics and continual evaluation, it is not possible to ‘dip in and out’ of the sandpit.

2016/17 Seed Funding Call

In the 2016 - 2017 academic year, the Public Engagement Unit partnered with the Widening Participation Office and The Edge Arts to release more than £20,000 of grants for engaged research projects. Over 20 applications were received; 15 were funded, ranging in scale from £450 to £4,500.

Funded projects included activities that:

  • Developed innovative engagement with research
  • Extended previous engagements, such as to a new public group
  • Shared engagement skills and learning across disciplines or faculties
  • Undertook pilots of engagement activities to evaluate what works and what doesn't for all involved

Grants were available across two tiers:

Tier 1 - Initiator Awards of up to £500

Ideal for those researchers new to, or with little experience of, public engagement with research, these awards provided a perfect opportunity to give public engagement a go, to pilot a new event or idea and / or to reach new public groups. Postgraduate researchers were entitled to apply for the Awards.

10 projects were funded - read blogs about the projects.

Tier 2 - Advanced Awards of up to £5000

Targeted at those researchers who could already demonstrate substantive experience of high quality public engagement, these awards funded strongly collaborative, capacity building, ambitious projects aimed at a step-change in public engagement practice. Four projects were supported:

  1. Dr Leon Watts (Senior Lecturer, Computer Science) awarded £3,500 for Our bodies and theirs; my gaze and yours. This project will explore (a) robotic expression of emotion and (b) choreographic interpretations of origin, loss and identity and will involve interaction between dance professionals and Human-Robot Interaction scientists.
  2. Dr Kate Woodthorpe (Senior Lecturer, Social & Policy Sciences) awarded £4,000 for Death, dying and devolution: engaging with policy makers and stakeholders. This project will create a graphic representation of how the Centre for Death & Society gives voice to a range of stakeholders and will pilot and critically review two community of practice models - one with local stakeholders and the other with national representatives. 
  3. Professor William Wadsworth (Physics) awarded £3,100 for Reaching unengaged public with photonics research. This project will explore novel ways of reaching adults and family groups who perceive science as challenging, uninteresting, or disconnected from their everyday lives.
  4. Dr Afroditi Stathi (Reader, Health) awarded £4.475 for Our voice matters. This project will train up older people living in Keynsham as citizen scientists, supporting them to collect, analyse, and disseminate data in relation to health-related issues they face in their locality.  

These projects will be concluding in 2018. If you would like further details about any of the above, contact Ed Stevens.