Engaging Environments ran from October 2017 to March 2019 and was a NERC-funded project supporting consortium and capacity building projects to build a long-term, effective and innovative public engagement community to engage the UK public with contemporary issues of environment science.
Six projects were funded to equip the environmental research community to deliver effective, national-scale public engagement with contemporary issues of environmental science. Each project brought a different approach to this challenge, from training researchers to use narrative skills and creative arts to engage diverse audiences, to developing relationships with community organisations to explore what they wanted to know about environmental issues.
As one of the six funded projects, the NCCPE was delighted to provide a coordinating ‘hub’ for the Engaging Environments project. As well as supporting the projects to work together and share learning, we facilitated collaboration between the projects and the wider sector, ensuring that stakeholders and other relevant organisations were able to get involved in the work.
Lessons from the Engaging Environments programme
As part of our coordination work, NCCPE brought the project teams together to share their learning, reflect on their work and create a shared resource.
This booklet pulls together key learning from the programme, that we hope will be useful for anyone working to develop more effective public engagement with environmental science, whether as a researcher or as an engagement professional.
Insights into NERC-funded researchers
NCCPE also commissioned a small piece of independent research to find out more about how NERC-funded researchers viewed public engagement, and how it was supported, to inform future work in this area.
The report draws on survey and interview data from over sixty members of the NERC research community, who were asked to reflect on their varied roles, their access to public engagement and related support, development opportunities, and challenges.
Engaging Environments Symposium
We were delighted to welcome over 80 delegates to the Engaging Environments Symposium in Central Bristol on the 22nd of October. This event was a chance to hear from each of the NERC-funded projects, help us interrogate and build on the learning to date, and consider how the projects could be scaled up to have national impact.
The Engaging Environments projects
- Opening up Science for All, led by Dr Hilary Geoghegan at University of Reading, aimed to enable ongoing active and routine engagement with environmental research by scoping out and building commitment for a national public engagement community for environmental research.
- Climate Communication Project, led by Professor Piers Forster at the University of Leeds, put in place the national 'infrastructure' to deliver high impact public engagement with climate change.
- Future of Our Seas, led by Mr Jon Parr at the Marine Biological Association, used the future of our seas as an example to create a template of how to build consortia, build capacity, and how to create innovative activities in public engagement.
- Engaging Communities with their Environment, led by Dr Carl Stevenson at the University of Birmingham, developed an adaptable framework, focusing on how public groups can benefit from and influence environmental science.
- Climate Stories, led by Professor Peter Stott at the University of Exeter, developed the narrative skills of scientists and evaluate the use of storytelling as a method to engage a diverse range of community groups.
- Engaging Environments Hub, led by Mr Paul Manners at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, brought all of the projects together to develop better partnership working, build common capacities and stimulate innovation.
For further information, please see the NERC website.