The case for public engagement
In this section we explore the rationale for public engagement, and the evidence that underpins it. We make the case in three different ways.
1. It brings significant benefits to universities and to the public
A young audience enjoying UCL's Bright Club, where researchers perform stand up comedy about their work.
It’s possible to make the case for engagement by detailing the various impacts and benefits it generates. We’ve described those benefits in terms of:
- The impact on your university
- The impact on your staff and students
- The impact on civil society
Find out more about what the benefits of public engagement, and the supporting evidence.
2. Funders and policy makers expect universities to do it
Nutritionist Dr Amelia Lake is setting up an expert panel of young people who will influence public health research. Amelia is a fellow of Beacon North East. Picture courtesy of North News and Pictures
Even though we are living through a period of great economic stress, public engagement remains a priority for the funders of higher education, with clear expectation that in return for their funding universities can demonstrate:
- How your research impacts on the public and wider society
- How your university generates 'public benefit'
- How your students are helped to 'make a difference' and to thrive in the world beyond university
3. It helps universities adapt to a changing world
A public lecture by Karel Leky, part of a project run at the University of Bangor exploring Jewish Life in North Wales. The project collaborates with the public, particularly Jewish communitites, in North Wales and promotes the study of the history of the Jewish community in the area.
Universities are under increasing pressure to respond to external agendas, and to 're-invent' themselves to meet the needs of wider society. Public engagement puts universities on the front foot, demonstrating a proactive approach to:
- Accountability and transparency
- Values and purpose
- Trust and licence to practice
Find out more about how public engagement helps universities to face the future