Our Engage Grants: Initiator Fund is open for researchers and experimental and technical staff at any level, including doctoral students, who wish to carry out small-scale or pilot public engagement activities to; support their learning about engagement, gain experience of engagement and develop their engagement ideas. This fund is particularly aimed at those researchers and experimental and technical staff with little or no experience of engagement with their research, and for reaching public groups that you may not have worked with in the past.

Examples of Initiator Fund activities include (but are not limited to):

  • developing small-scale pilots of engagement activities to evaluate what works and does not for all involved
  • trying out existing engagement activities (your own, or others) with new public groups or delivering in a different context
  • developing your public engagement skills and practice by trying out new engagement methods or working with new public group

An application can cover one or more of the above activities or other relevant ideas not listed, but must not exceed £500. The grant cannot be used to cover time for the researcher(s) involved.

In the context of this funding call, the ‘public’ is defined as any person or group outside of academia.

A total of £2,500 is available for this call. The Public Engagement Unit reserve the right not to allocate all the funds available.

Generally, we have found that projects of this scale usually take six months to develop and deliver. However, we recognise that engagement projects may take longer under current circumstances and are happy to be flexible with project timescales.

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on all public engagement activities, and we are open to any format or method that meets the needs of the public groups you will be working with. You can find inspiration for digital activities on the NCCPE webpage and remote engagement activities in this Taking Part open-source database.

Who can apply

This call is open to any member of staff in the Research & Education and Technical & Experimental job families (any discipline or career stage) and doctoral students who are looking to engage the public with their research. We would particularly encourage early career researchers to apply.

Doctoral students will need to secure permission from their supervisors in order to apply for this award.

We welcome applications from all Faculties but would particularly welcome applications from Departments within the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering and Design to ensure we are providing adequate support across all Departments.


Assessment criteria

  • a clear explanation of how the engagement project will advance the applicant’s public engagement skills
  • a clearly articulated link between current high-quality research and the proposed engagement activity
  • a clearly defined public group and clear explanation of how the project will meet their needs
  • an explanation of how the engagement project will benefit the applicant and their research
  • a plan to evaluate the success of the project, including the evaluation tools to be used
  • a realistic project plan highlighting the feasibility of the project within the budget limits and the timescales outlined

Priority will be given to projects that focus on engaging people from local communities with research. This could mean communities within Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) or other areas in surrounding local authorities such as Trowbridge or Frome. This may also include your own local communities where you live.

Please note - The University is currently developing a Civic University Agreement, a statement of intent of how we contribute to the social, economic, cultural and environmental life of the city and wider region. This criterion reflects this strategic priority of civic and local engagement.

Assessment process

Application forms must be emailed to public-engagement@bath.ac.uk no later than 5pm on Monday 22 February 2021, with ‘Initiator Fund’ in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel made up of:

  • the Public Engagement Unit
  • an academic representative from the University of Bath

A member of the Public Engagement Unit will be in touch as to the outcome of your application the week commencing the 8 March 2021.


All projects will be required to report their learning, outcomes and experiences to the Public Engagement Unit. Award holders will be expected to share their learning and experiences through events and formats that the Public Engagement Unit coordinate and manage.

There is an expectation that all successful applications will share their learning and outcomes from the project with their colleagues within departments and across the University. This could involve sharing learning from the projects at departmental meetings or University-wide events such as the annual Engage Showcase.


Call opens

Monday 18 January 2021

Call closes

Monday 22 February 2021

Awards start

From the beginning of April 2021

Reports due

Before Wednesday 30 June 2021

If you are considering an application, we would strongly encourage you to speak with a member of the Public Engagement Unit about your project prior to application submission. Please email the Public Engagement Unit via public-engagement@bath.ac.uk