NERC Researcher Engage Academy

The NCCPE offered an online, experiential learning academy for environmental researchers seeking to develop their public engagement work

This programme is now closed. Visit the NCCPE projects and services page to learn more about what we are currently doing.

The NERC Researcher Engage Academy was a free, online, experiential professional development programme which ran from March 2022 - January 2023 developed for researchers, either funded by NERC or working in research teams and/or institutions within the NERC remit, to work with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). The Enviornmental Engagement in Practice programme stemmed from this Academy. 

Read more about the Academy programme below.

The programme

We offered environmental researchers a unique opportunity to develop their public engagement work with expert mentors and facilitators, and in peer learning groups. This was a flexible and bespoke development opportunity, informed by research done with the NERC community, and steered by an advisory panel of engagement, academic and wider sector experts.

Researchers explored relevant content through a mixture of live events and self-directed tasks. Participants took part in:

  • Live, facilitated online workshops
  • Self-directed learning resources
  • Cohort-specific learning groups, with mentoring support
  • Programme-wide networking and practice sharing sessions
  • Participant-led online networking space
  • NERC supported public engagement opportunities

Key to the Academy was building connections and expanding support networks, which are key to navigating the opportunities and challenges of public engagement with research. There were lots of opportunities for formal and informal discussions with peers and mentors to help researchers along the way. 

This included an online networking space and smaller peer learning groups who met throughout the programme to interrogate content, share learning and develop skills together. The NCCPE worked with a pool of experienced mentors from the engagement sector, and peer groups were allocated a mentor to support their developing engagement skills.  

See the programme information pack 

Or view the information pack online for full details.

Programme cohorts

Applications were open to environmental researchers and project staff, either funded by NERC or working in research teams and/or institutions within the NERC remit, across two cohorts. No prior experience of public engagement was necessary. 

  • Working in partnership: For those already collaborating with others as part of their work or who want to explore this in the future. This cohort got to grips with mutually-beneficial partnership working for effective public engagement. This cohort was for researchers (post PhD) and NERC project staff working at any career level. No prior experience of working in partnership is required.
  • Engagement and impact leadership: This cohort was dedicated to developing leadership and strategy development skills with action learning and mentor support. This cohort was for researchers and NERC project staff working at a mid-late career level.

Informed by the NERC community for the community

It was vital that this development opportunity was informed by, and tailored to, the needs, priorities, and experiences of the NERC community. The NCCPE, led by Associate David Owen, conducted desk research and interviews with potential participants to better understand how the content, delivery and design of the programme could best fulfil your needs and interests. 

This led to the NERC Insights Research Report, detailing key findings and recommendations for the direction and delivery of the programme. The research was shared with NERC and an advisory panel of engagement, academic and wider sector experts, who worked with us to develop the final programme.

Download the Insights Research Report

Find out more

If you would like to learn more about this programme, email