Introducing the EDGE tool

Explore the EDGE tool and how to use it to assess your support for public engagement.

How well does your institution currently support public engagement? What are you doing well, and are there areas which you could quickly and efficiently target to make a big difference? We've distilled the work of the Beacons for Public Engagement and other universities to create a self-assessment tool to help you take stock and plan your own work. The tool has nine focal points which form a self-assessment matrix, to allow you to assess your institution's progress. We've called it the EDGE Tool as it describes 'Embryonic', 'Developing', 'Gripping' and 'Embedded' approaches to supporting engagement.  

The EDGE tool provides a really useful device to get colleagues talking and reflecting on the current state of play in your department, school or institution, and helps identify where to focus your efforts. 

The EDGE tool at a glance 

So what does the EDGE tool highlight? The table below identifies the critical focal points it explores. 




Have you created a shared understanding of the purpose, value and meaning of engagement and embedded this in your strategy and mission?


Do you support champions across the organisation who embrace engagement?


Do you communicate consistent, clear messages to validate, support and celebrate it, and ensure open and two-way communication with internal and external stakeholders?



How do you co-ordinate your support to maximise efficiency, target support, improve quality, foster innovation, join up thinking and monitor effectiveness?


What opportunities do you provide for learning and reflection and what support do you provide for CPD?


How do you recognise and reward staff involvement within recruitment, promotion, workload plans and performance reviews, and how do you celebrate success?



Do you ensure that all staff – in academic and support roles – have opportunities to get involved in informal and formal ways?


Do you proactively involve stakeholders / users / publics in shaping the mission and in the delivery of the strategy, and maximise opportunities for their involvement?


How are students involved and what opportunities do they have to contribute their expertise and energy?


You can access the interactive EDGE Tool, or download a PDF version.

Where next?

If you would like the NCCPE’s help in using the EDGE tool, please get in touch

We have used the EDGE tool form the basis of our Watermark process: this is an external benchmarking process which helps you take a systematic look at your current support for public engagement, and to develop an effective action plan.