Laura Steele, Project Officer at the NCCPE, blogs about the Engage Competition and Awards.
In two weeks we'll be hosting our second biannual Engage Awards, the culmination of a UK wide search for excellent public engagement with research.
The awards are exciting for the NCCPE team, obviously, but they’re also important in the context of academic endeavour because they celebrate all that’s good about the way universities choose to work with external partners to bring their research to life and give it true meaning. The awards are particularly exciting for me, having recently joined the NCCPE team, and having the privilege of managing the Engage Competition from our call for applications, to the announcement of our winners.
Public engagement with university research projects that make a tangible and measurable difference to the lives of others has a special significance for us at the NCCPE because it is work that is shaped and informed by the audiences and partners beyond the research teams themselves, giving it both context and depth.
Over the next three weeks or so, in this regular blog, I’ll be highlighting the 18 projects shortlisted from an impressive 180 entries across six categories – Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Engaging with Young People, Health & Wellbeing, Individual-led Projects, STEM and Working in Partnership.
Among them, somewhere, are our six winners – one for each category and all of them to be judged by our excellent judges - 20 eminent figures from inside and outside the world of academia who really understand the dynamics of engaged research.
However the simple fact of having been shortlisted is a remarkable achievement in itself because for every finalist attending the conference and awards on 29th November, there are 9 exceptional entries that were unsuccessful.
So whatever our winning projects turn out to be, the process so far has already proved that public engagement through research across the UK is vibrant, thriving and meaningful. And who knows, perhaps the winning projects for the Engage Competition 2018 are already under way.
If you know of a university research project that exemplifies great public engagement, we’d love to hear about it.