About the Engage Competition

The Engage Competition is currently closed to entries.

Are you involved in public engagement with research? Have you worked on a brilliant project that you want to share? The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) are running this national competition to find and celebrate high quality public engagement with research projects.

We define public engagement with research as “the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of research can be shared with the public”. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.

Across the UK researchers are engaging the public in lots of different ways and for lots of different reasons. We want to recognise and reward high quality examples of public engagement in practice, and we want you to get involved. We are interested in applications covering projects from all disciplines, of any size, length and cost. Whether you are new to public engagement, or have been engaging with the public for years we are keen to hear from you.

Competition categories

In the 2016 Engage Competition there were six competition categories, and the winner of each category received a prize of £1,500 to go towards further public engagement work. The winners and runners-up from each category were celebrated at an awards ceremony as part of Engage 2016, the NCCPE’s annual conference, held in November 2016.

The categories were:

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Engaging With Young People
  • Working In Partnership
  • Individually Led Projects

Assessment criteria

In 2016, competition entries were judged on the following five key assessment criteria:


We believe that high quality engagement activities have considered both the purpose of the project and the audience/participants and used this to inform the development of the project. By being clear about why you are engaging, and thinking carefully about the people you want to engage with, the project will be more effective. It is important to consider the outcomes of the project, and how you will assess these. We will be looking for evidence that:

  • The purpose of the project is clear
  • The audience/ participants were well defined
  • Audience/ Participant understanding informed the development of the project
  • The desired outcomes of the project were clearly stated


High quality projects are usually planned and managed well. Often they will draw on learning from previous engagement projects, or expertise from partner organisations. They will use evaluation intelligently to inform, develop and assess the project. We are looking for evidence that:

  • The project was well planned and researched
  • The project was conducted effectively and efficiently
  • All those involved in project delivery were communicated with in an effective and timely way
  • An appropriate evaluation plan was used
  • Evaluation was used to help develop the project, and encourage critical reflection
  • There is an awareness of what parts of the project worked well and what didn’t work so well and why
  • The outcomes were measured in an appropriate and effective way

Mutual benefit

Core to high quality engagement is the idea of mutual benefit. We would expect there to be benefits to all those involved in the project. You may wish to evidence the following:

  • The impact of the project is clearly stated and evidenced
  • The project benefitted participants
  • The project benefitted the research / researcher(s)
  • The project benefitted the project partners
  • External and internal partnerships were created as a result of the project


We are interested in new ways people have engaged people with their research. This may be a really innovative activity, or it may be an existing activity being used in a new way. It may also be innovation in how you market the project, or in how you make use of resources. It may be innovation for the research discipline or for your institution i.e. ‘new to you’. We will be looking for evidence that:

  • The project used creative ways of engaging the audience
  • The project made creative use of resources (people, places, materials, budget)
  • The project or aspects of the project show originality
  • The project was marketed in an innovative way


Whilst some activities are planned as a one off, we are interested to know about if and how you planned for sustainability. This includes how you managed the relationship with your participants and partners over time. You may wish to reflect on the following:

  • Resources have been produced and shared as a result of the project
  • The partnerships were sustained following the project
  • The participants were kept involved in the project appropriately (e.g. if you did a consultation did you share your findings and resulting actions with the participants in the consultation)
  • The project was sustained and/ or developed
  • An appropriate exit strategy was agreed with all partners


If you would like to contact us, or have any questions not answered by our website pages, please email engage.competition@uwe.ac.uk.