The Vice-Chancellor’s Engage Awards aims to reward and celebrate the work of colleagues from across the University of Bath who are engaging non-academic audiences with their research.

Summary of the Leadership award

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 (e.g. participant recruitment) is not eligible. Please contact the Public Engagement Unit for advice if you are unsure. The public are described as any individual or group of people outside of academia.

When considering applications for this award, the judging panel will look for evidence of excellence in promoting a culture of public engagement with research and evidence of leadership in this area from across a range of public engagement activities that have been enabled and supported by the applicant.

There is no assumption that candidates will be in a senior, supervisory or managerial position but rather, they have mobilised a significant number of their peers and / or developed a culture inclusive of public engagement across their research centre / institute / department / broader research community.

Purpose of the Leadership award

This award aims to reward an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the culture of public engagement and recognise a strong commitment to engaged research and promoting learning among researchers and doctoral students.

Who can apply

  • The award is open to all members of staff of the University of Bath within the Education, Research and Technical job families.
  • Previous winners of the award will be eligible for further application three years after the year that the award was made to them. Unsuccessful candidates may apply for the award in subsequent years.
  • Candidates must demonstrate a track record / portfolio of facilitating and supporting public engagement associated with research. Examples of relevant activities may include, but is not limited to:
    • Developing departmental strategy for public engagement
    • Developing new forums for engagement
    • Delivering and facilitating opportunities for staff professional development relating to public engagement
    • Mentoring and supporting researchers to carry out public engagement activities and develop their engagement skills
  • Supporting evidence must demonstrate significant and sustained contributions to a culture of engaged research over at least the past 24 months.
  • The award is not open to professional services staff.


Judging criteria

  • A portfolio of appropriate engagement activities relating to research that the applicant has facilitated and supported over at least the last 24 months, with strong examples of good engagement practice. Examples could include:

  • developing a departmental strategy for public engagement

    • developing new forums for engagement
    • delivering and facilitating opportunities for staff professional development relating to public engagement
    • mentoring and supporting researchers to carry out public engagement activities and develop their engagement skills
  • Demonstration of a reflective approach by the applicant.

  • Evidence of how the applicant influences, encourages and supports others to engage public groups with their own research. (This could involve the applicant sharing their learning about engagement across the University, and, where appropriate, beyond the University).

  • Evidence that the applicant has taken a lead in supporting high-quality public engagement activities.

Assessment process

  • Applicants should apply directly by sending a completed application form to to the Public Engagement Unit via email with VC Awards Leadership category in the subject line.

  • Applications must be endorsed by two people. One of these referees should be someone more senior to applicant who can comment on your research. Ideally, the second referee should be an academic colleague who has benefited from working with the nominee on a public engagement project.

  • Applications will be reviewed by a judging panel of internal and external experts in public engagement. A shortlist of three applicants will then be invited to give a presentation on their public engagement leadership work. The judging panel will announce the winner of the award at an event on Friday 21 May 2021.

    • The winner will be asked to contribute to University websites and other materials in respect to their award or public engagement activities. This may take several forms including, but not limited to, a video, case study or spotlight article.
  • The award will not normally be awarded to the same person on more than one occasion and certainly not within three years of the initial award being made. The judging panel will need to demonstrate the exceptional circumstances of the case if the award is made again to a previously successful candidate.

  • Shortlisted applicants for the Leadership category will be notified on the week beginning 19 April. Applicants will then be asked to create an as-live recording of a short six-minute presentation which will be reviewed by the judging panel. The winner of this category will be announced at an event currently scheduled for Friday 21 May 2021. Details will be confirmed once applications have been received.


The Vice-Chancellor’s Engage Awards are run biennially with the next awards hosted in 2023. Nominations for the Vice-Chancellor’s Engage Awards 2023 is scheduled to open in Spring 2023.