Through this on-off Engage Grants fund the Public Engagement Unit would like to explore the features of activities that embrace both online and ‘in-person’ methods to help ensure resilient and inclusive public engagement practice for all.

Context

As a result of the COVID-19 emergency activities that engage public groups with research made the nearly wholesale shift to online spaces. This move was driven by ‘crisis-mode’ responses of what is possible, rather than a carefully assessed understanding of public and researcher needs. This has created opportunities for more people to engage, but there are real risks people have become excluded because of their access to technologies, their confidence and preference to engage in this way.

As the UK moves to lift all nearly all behavioural restrictions by June 2021, it has been assumed that engagement activities can revert to the pre-pandemic norm of being in-person. However, whilst these activities appear to be more accessible and inclusive, they also increase barriers for some. We also have little understanding of how peoples’ attitudes to this lifting of restrictions and how the resultant behaviour will play out and how it will affect their willingness to participate in engagement activities

The Public Engagement Unit would like to explore practice that combines the best features of both online and in-person to better understand how public engagement can become more resilient and potentially be more inclusive and accessible for a wider range of people, regardless of the COVID-19 context.

Aims

This fund aims to:

  • explore the features and evaluate the effectiveness of a ‘blended’/’hybrid’ (online and in-person) activities that engage public groups with research

  • support the development of researchers’ skills, knowledge and expertise in public engagement with research that uses online and in-person methods

  • generate a deeper understanding of the value of ‘blended’/’hybrid’ (online and in-person) engagement activities to participating public groups

Who can apply

This call is open to any member of staff in the Research & Education job families (any discipline or career stage) and doctoral students who are looking to engage the public with research.

We welcome applications from all Faculties.

Doctoral students will need to secure permission from their supervisors to apply for this fund.

Assessment

Assessment criteria

Applicants for the Innovate fund: Resilience should:

  • have some experience of public engagement

  • be open to working creatively and outside their area of expertise

  • be enthusiastic about the value of public engagement with research

We anticipate successful projects will:

  • involve a creative professional

  • demonstrate a clearly articulated link between current high-quality research and the proposed engagement activity

  • have a defined public group and clear explanation of how the project will meet the public groups’ needs in the design of the activities

  • include an explanation of how the activity will be inclusive, respectful of the diversity of participants and is accessible

  • explain how the engagement project will benefit the applicant and their research

  • demonstrate a plan to evaluate the success of the project, including the evaluation tools to be used

  • be realistic and include a project plan that highlights the feasibility of the project with the budget limits and the timescales outlined

Application process

There are two stages to the Innovate Fund: Resilience:

Match-making workshop

To be eligible to apply to the Innovate fund: Resilience applicants are expected to attend a match-making workshop on Wednesday 2 June2021, 1-5pm. This workshop will facilitate the development of creative, collaborative and participatory projects by bringing creative professionals, community groups and applicants together.

Applicants must fill in the Expression of Interest and return completed forms to public-engagement@bath.ac.uk with ‘Innovate fund: Resilience’ in the subject line by Wednesday 19 May 2021, 5pm. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 21 May 2021, 5pm.

Project proposal

Following the workshop, applicants will have three weeks to refine and submit project ideas that have been co-created during the workshop by submitting a light touch project proposal form. Completed forms must be returned to public-engagement@bath.ac.uk with ‘Innovate fund: Resilience’ in the subject line by Monday 21 June 2021, 5pm.

Applications will be reviewed by:

  • the Public Engagement Unit

  • a creative practitioner/community representative

  • a public engagement professional from an external Higher Education Institution

  • 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 beginning Monday 28 June 2021.

Reporting

All projects will be required to report their learning, outcomes and experiences. The Public Engagement Unit will work closely with the Award holders over the course of their projects to support them and support Award holders to reflect on their learning and experiences. 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 need to show how they 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.

Timetable

Call opens - Wednesday 7 April 2021

Call closes - Wednesday 19 May 2021

Matchmaking workshop – Wednesday 2 June 2021

Project proposal call opens – Wednesday 2 June 2021

Project proposal call closes – Monday 21 June 2021

Successful applicants notified - week beginning Monday 28 June 2021