Purposeful public engagement with STEM

Clarifying the purposes of public engagement.

Image credit: UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres

To do engagement well, the National Forum for Public Engagement with STEM are convinced that it is important to think really clearly about the purposes you are trying to realise. Building on work done as part of the Science for All programme, we use the so-called ‘public engagement triangle’ to differentiate between three different purposes:


We have used these purposes to help us categorise the types of activity that are collectively investing in, and have identified a strong bias towards ‘informing’ types of activity. The results of this exercise have informed our ongoing work on improving models and approaches to funding.

The discussion paper, included below, was commissioned by the Science for All expert group, established by the government in 2009, to develop an action plan for public engagement with STEM. Development of this tool was led by Lindsey Colbourne from the Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre. The original paper, and other Science for All reports, can be accessed on the government archive.