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Doctoral Award for Public Engagement

Information about the Doctoral Award for Public Engagement and guidance on how to apply.


One of the winners of the Engage Awards holding their award in front of a banner
Winner of one of the Vice-Chancellor's Engage Award 2019

The Doctoral Award for Public Engagement aims to recognise and reward high-quality public engagement with research projects carried out by doctoral students at the University of Bath and is run in collaboration with the Doctoral College.

Summary of the Doctoral Award for Public Engagement

For the purpose of this award public engagement is understood as:

The myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.

Public engagement with research should enhance and enrich your research. Work that is viewed as being essential to your research (for example participant recruitment) is not eligible. Please contact the Public Engagement Unit for advice if you are unsure. Public groups are described as any individual or group of people outside of academia.

When considering applications for these awards, the judging panel will look for evidence of excellence in public engagement with research that clearly demonstrates the mutual benefit of the engagement. The awards will recognise a strong commitment by the doctoral students to their own learning from the process of engagement. All types of engagement will be considered for the award, but only one award will be made. If you're looking for inspiration the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement have a variety of examples of engagement types.

Who can apply

The award is open to all doctoral students at the University of Bath (whose period of registration at Friday 1 May has not exceeded the maximum time permitted by the regulations for the particular degree).

As a doctoral student, you will need to secure permission from your supervisors in order to apply for this award.

Types of engagement

For the purposes of the award, applications should identify the type of public engagement they best represent from four categories (Informing, Listening, Working Together and Leading).

The Public Engagement Unit recognises that public engagement projects will not always fit neatly into these categories. If your project covers multiple categories, please choose the category that you feel best represents your engagement project. If you are unsure of the most suitable category please contact the Public Engagement Unit and we will be able to advise you.

Please note: Only one award will be given across the four categories. Separate awards will not be given for each category.

The categories are:

  1. Informing - projects that share research knowledge with public groups outside of academia. Examples of activities in this category could include (but are not limited to) broadcasting, exhibitions, radio, blogs, social media activities, public lectures or research related outreach activities.

  2. Listening - projects that involve listening and responding to a public group’s needs, knowledge and experience. Examples of activities in this category could include (but are not limited to) roundtable discussions, citizen science, stakeholder panels, patient-public involvement or similar activities.

  3. Working Together - projects that involve working with others who are outside of academia. Examples of activities in this category could include (but are not limited to) carrying out research collaboratively with community partners, collaborating with local artist groups to run an exhibition based on your research, working with research stakeholders to create tools based on your research or similar activities.

  4. Leading - for individuals who support others to engage public groups with their research. Examples of activities in this category could include (but are not limited to) supporting other doctoral students to engage the public with their research, finding and providing opportunities for others to develop their public engagement skills, taking a strategic approach to public engagement such as creating a strategy or programme of activities for their department/research group or sharing practice with other doctoral students and researchers.


Eligibility criteria

Applications can be submitted from individuals, groups or centres. Applications must demonstrate high-quality public engagement associated with their research. Applications should include any learning outcomes and experiences achieved through the public engagement and successful nominees should be willing to share these publicly.

Staff from the Public Engagement Unit are not eligible to apply for this award. Unsuccessful candidates from the Vice-Chancellor's Engage Awards 2019 can apply for this award as long as they are still an eligible doctoral student.

Assessment criteria

  • A strong relationship between the high-quality engagement and the high-quality research.
  • The benefits of the engagement should be clearly described and supported by evidence with respect to:
    • your research
    • you as a researcher
    • the public group or community
  • Demonstration of a reflective / evaluative approach which shows what you have learned through your public engagement activities and how your engagement and research has evolved accordingly.

Assessment process

The researcher(s) should apply directly by emailing the application form to the Public Engagement Unit with Doctoral Award for Public Engagement in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed by a judging panel of internal and external experts in public engagement with research.

The winner will be asked to contribute to University websites and other materials in respect of their award or public engagement activities. This may take several forms including, but not limited to, a video, case study or spotlight article.


The inaugural Doctoral Award for Public Engagement was awarded in 2020. It's anticipated the next round will take place in 2021/22.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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