NERC Researcher Engage Academy

The NCCPE are pleased to offer a new online, experiential learning academy, for NERC researchers seeking to develop their public engagement work

Are you a NERC-funded researcher who wants to boost the impact and reach of your research through high-quality public engagement? Do you want to develop your engagement skills, practice and networks? Join the 2022 NERC Researcher Engage Academy!

The programme

The NERC Researcher Engage Academy is an online, experiential nine-month professional development programme for 200 NERC-funded researchers to work with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

We are offering NERC researchers a unique opportunity to develop their public engagement work with expert mentors and facilitators, and in peer learning groups. This 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.

You will explore relevant content through a mixture of live events and self-directed tasks. Participants will take 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 will be building connections and expanding your support networks, which are key to navigating the opportunities and challenges of public engagement with research. There will be lots of opportunities for formal and informal discussions with peers and mentors to help you along the way. 

This includes an online networking space and smaller peer learning groups who will meet frequently throughout the programme to interrogate content, share learning and develop skills together. The NCCPE work with a pool of experienced mentors from the engagement sector, and peer groups will be allocated a mentor to support you in developing your engagement skills.  

Download the information pack 

Or view the information pack online for full details.

Is the programme for me?

Applications are open to NERC-funded researchers, across one of three cohorts. No prior experience of public engagement is necessary. 

These three groups enable programme participants to access relevant content and work with a supportive peer network. As part of the application process you will be asked to identify which cohort you would like to be part of:

  • Working in partnership: Are you already collaborating with others as part of your work, or is this something you want to explore in the future? This cohort will get to grips with mutually-beneficial partnership working for effective public engagement. This cohort is for researchers (post PhD) and NERC project staff working at any career level. No prior experience of working in partnership is required.
  • Peer review: This cohort will explore what it means to assess engagement within funding grants using practical examples and mentor support. This cohort is for current or previous NERC Peer Review College members and researchers who have sat on NERC research grant, fellowship or public engagement panels. This opportunity is also open to those who are interested in taking part in NERC peer review roles and processes in the next three years.
  • Engagement and impact leadership: This cohort will be dedicated to developing leadership and strategy development skills with action learning and mentor support. This cohort is for researchers and NERC project staff working at a mid-late career level.

We will select researchers to ensure a balance of different perspectives, disciplines, expertise and affiliations, with diversity (in the broadest sense) in mind. 

What support is available to participate?

There is no fee to take part in the programme and NERC are also offering small grants to support people to participate:

  • Small grants will be available to cover time spent participating in the programme, when this is not part of normal work duties, as set out by your employer organisation or company. Grants do not cover time spent planning and development of engagement activity, which is considered part of your responsibilities as a researcher.
  • NERC will also cover reasonable costs where relevant, according to the UKRI Travel and Subsistence policy. 

What do I need to commit to?

The NERC Researcher Academy is a 9-month programme and the first cohort will start in March 2022. The timelines for each cohort are:

  • March 2022 - November 2022: Working in partnership cohort
  • May 2022 - January 2023: Peer review cohort
  • June 2022 - February 2023: Engagement and impac tleadership cohort

The course is flexible, but the minimum time commitment to complete the programme is approximately 35 hours over the relevant timeline. Applying for a place will be taken as confirmation that you can commit to the minimum programme time commitment above. 

We welcome all participants to take part in as many additional events and activities as they wish. 

Please give at least 5 days’ notice if you cannot attend, so we can give your place to someone else.

Apply now

Applications will be assessed by NERC and NCCPE based on the potential benefit to the researcher, their research and others they work with. This process will also assess how suitable the researcher is for the cohort they have selected and reallocate them if needed.

Apply for your place using the online form

Completed forms must be received by 5pm on Monday 10th January.


Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further.

NCCPE contact - Alyssa Chafee, Senior Project Officer (
NERC contact - Hannah Lacey, Senior Public Engagement Programme Manager (

This cohort is for current or previous NERC Peer Review College members and researchers who have sat on NERC research grant, fellowship or public engagement panels. This opportunity is also open to those who are interested in taking part in NERC peer review roles and processes in the next three years.