Awards and Prizes

Using awards to reward good practice and increase visibility

Women clapping

Table of contents

What you find on this page

1. Overview

How awards can help with culture change

2. Top tips

Some tips to get you started

3. Inspire me!

Examples of Awards schemes in different HEIs

4. Useful resources

Guidance on how to run a competition


Highlighting and rewarding public engagement is an important part of creating a culture where PE is recognised as an integral, distinctive, and valued activity. However, awards can do more than simply recognise good practice. An awards process can be a very useful tool for helping to build up a picture of the public engagement landscape within an institution, whilst also raising awareness of what good PE looks like.

Top tips

 Use awards to build support

Your awards process gives you an excellent opportunity to bring in senior leader support by inviting them to be on the review panel.  You may want to do this if there are senior leaders who don’t seem to “get” public engagement, or if they are new in post and you want to bring public engagement to their attention. As well as making sure you have public engagement expertise on your panel to support your senior leaders’ decision making, you may find it helpful to have public representation on your panel as well. 

 Think hard about what you are celebrating

Think carefully about the behaviours you actually want to celebrate. Are you awarding the outcomes of engagement or the process? Do you want to award individuals, groups, or collaborators? Choose your categories and your award prizes to reflect the ethos you are trying to encourage. For example, if you decide to have awards for groups, it can help to provide certificates for all the contributors to a project rather than just the lead researcher.

 Focus on your culture change aims

Awards can contribute to a number of culture change aims at once. Here are some common aims:

  • To raise awareness of PE
  • To recognise and reward PE best practice
  • To raise awareness and recognition of the PE team expertise and support available
  • To enable the PE team to collect examples of best practice PE that could be used in training and communications.

Do you have other aims? How else can you use your awards to further push for culture change?

Inspire me!

Here are two really useful blogs reflecting on the challenges of setting up an awards programme

Useful resources