About us

Based in Bush House in central Bristol, the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement [NCCPE] was established in 2008 as part of the Beacons for Public Engagement Initiative. Funded by the four UK Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust the NCCPE helps inspire and support universities to engage with the public.

The NCCPE team

The NCCPE is a core team of six, headed by Director Paul Manners and based in Bristol at Bush House in Bristol’s Harbourside. We also have a team of associates who work alongside us to support universities in their engagement work.

Our partners

The Centre is hosted between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England. We work with a lot of other organisations including Universities UK, the BBC and Vitae.

Our funding

The Centre is funded by the four UK Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.

More about the funders.

Beacons for Public Engagement

The Beacons for Public Engagement initiative was a four-year project designed to create a culture change across the higher education sector. It sought to discover the barriers to effective engagement practice, and practical solutions. The work of the Beacons and others has informed the work of the NCCPE.

Find out more about the Beacons.

Current funded projects

The NCCPE is committed to developing projects that will contribute to our work. Here are our current projects.

Engaged Futures

What could the engaged university look like in 2020 – what would have changed and what would have stayed the same. How might universities reinvent themselves for societal benefit in the future? What do those working with universities want from them? This consultation is an opportunity to build new visions of the engaged university of the future, and explore how these might be realised. Find out more here.


Following the success of the Beacons for Public Engagement, Research Councils UK launched the Catalyst Project in 2013. Eight universities have funding to establish support for public engagement with research, drawing on the lessons learnt from the beacons. The NCCPE is working with the catalysts to share learning, and build capacity for engagement. Find out more here.

Schools University Partnership Initiative

The NCCPE is co-ordinating the SUPI project. Funded by Research Councils UK, 12 universities are working in partnership with local schools to develop more effective engagement between researchers and school students. The NCCPE is working with the projects to develop effective practice in this important area, and share learning with the wider sector. We are also working with other organisations already involved in supporting similar initiatives, to ensure we learn together, and maximise the value of the work being done. Find out more here.

Community Partner Network

Community partners and academics from across the UK came together in June 2012, to think about ways of building community university partnership resilience. They agreed 3 priority actions to strengthen community partner engagement: establish a UK Community Partner Network, develop a community partner 'sat nav' and shift the culture. Find out what's happening here.

All Our Stories

To support the partnership between the AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council), HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) and the BBC, the NCCPE will be working with the AHRC funded universities and museums to maximise the support they can offer to All Our Stories grantees. To find out more about the projects funded by the AHRC and what help they can offer community groups as they undertake their projects click here.

Embedding Impact Analysis in Research

This initiative funded 9 projects to bring researchers, business and community engagement professionals, and IT experts together to find effective ways to embed impact analysis in research. The NCCPE co-ordinated this project, and has developed a compendium of good practice, and an impact guide to support researchers to develop excellent research with impact.

Funded by Jisc

Dates: October 2011 – March 2013

Outputs: Compendium of Good Practice; Impact Guide

Engaged University Research

This research combined a review of literature, and a consultation with engaged academics to explore what we know of engaged practice, and to make recommendations for future research and practice.

Funded by AHRC

Dates: January 2012 – December 2012

Outputs: Report