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Engage Grants: Start-Up Fund for public engagement

Information about the Engage Grants: Start-Up Fund for public engagement activities, including example activities, who can apply and how they're assessed.

Terms And Conditions

Our Public Engagement Start-Up Fund is open for researchers at any level, including doctoral students who have identified community / special interest groups / organisations and non-academic individuals with whom they have not previously engaged. The funding can be spent on an activity or activities that might instigate future public engagement.

From projects that we have funded in the past, we have identified that fostering public engagement with research activities requires time and effort in building trust and relationships with the non-academic publics with whom you are looking to engage.

Activities should help create conditions for productive conversations about common research interests / challenges from which public engagement with research projects might arise. This funding is not provided to conduct public engagement activities rather, to foster relationships that might lead to public engagement with research.

Example Start-Up Fund costs include, but are not limited to:

  • travel cost or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to allow you to meet safely with public partners
  • equipment such as webcams, ring lights or headsets for use by you or your public partner for online meetings
  • attendance at a pre-existing networking event that includes the potential public partner(s) including online conferences or networking events
  • covering costs (e.g. time / travel / equipment) for the potential public partner(s) to meet with you

An application can cover one or more of the above costs or other relevant ideas not listed, but must not exceed £200. 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 pot of £2,000 is available across the 2021/22 academic year. The call for the Start-Up Fund opens on Monday 7 February 2022 and will close on Friday 8 July 2022 at 5pm with applications considered on a rolling basis until all the funds are allocated. The Public Engagement Unit reserve the right not to allocate all the funds available. Researchers are limited to one successful application per academic year.

Applications are invited at any time and should be submitted to with ‘Start-Up Fund’ in the subject line.

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 in order to apply for this award.


Assessment criteria

  • the researcher(s) must not have previously engaged with the non-academic public(s)
  • clear articulation as to why the researcher(s) wants to engage with the targeted public
  • clear description of the planned start-up activity
  • clear articulation of the ideal outcomes envisaged from the start-up activity

Assessment process

The call for the Start-Up Fund opens on Monday 7 February 2022 and will close on Friday 8 July 2022 at 5pm with applications considered on a rolling basis until all the funds are allocated.

Applications will be reviewed by the Public Engagement Unit and applicants will be advised of an outcome within two weeks of submission.

Successful applicants will be asked for a K account into which their grant can be transferred. If you do not have a K account, please speak to your Departmental coordinator or supervisor.


There is no official reporting process. However, a member of the Public Engagement Unit will contact you after the proposed deadline for your activities to see how they have progressed.

We might also request that you write a short blog piece about your Start-up Fund that can be shared on the Public Engagement Unit blog.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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