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Selection Process & Criteria

The Engage Competition 2016 is now closed for entries. Our awards ceremony took place on 29th November 2016 in Bristol as part of the Engage Conference. Find out more about our finalists and award winners.

If you have any queries please get in touch via

Entries were longlisted and then reviewed by an expert judging panel in September. All applicants heard back in September as to whether they have been taken forward as finalists or not.

Three finalists per category were invited to an interview with our competition judges in Bristol on Monday 28th November 2016, when final decisions were made. On Tuesday 29th November they were also invited to showcase their project and attend the competition awards ceremony as part of Engage 2016, the NCCPE’s annual conference.

Application Feedback

Due to the high volume of entries, we are unfortunately unable to give individual feedback on every competition application received.

We have, however, taken the decision to offer applicants the opportunity to receive a feedback report on their entry, with an associated administrative cost of £60 (including VAT) per application.

This report will be produced by the NCCPE, drawing on the expertise of our assessors. We hope that this will be an excellent opportunity for applicants to build and improve on their existing public engagement work.

If you would like to receive a report based on your 2016 competition entry, please tick the relevant box at the end of the application form.

Competition Assessment Criteria

Competition entries will be 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