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We help universities engage with the public

Easy ways to get started

Engagement activity

If you are new to public engagement just getting started can feel a bit of a challenge. We believe that its important to start somewhere, and perhaps one of the first things you should know is that you are not alone! There is lots of help and advice only a click, phone call or a corridor away. 

Here are our top ten suggestions to get you started.

  • 1. Join a national scheme
    • Rather than developing your own activity – why not join in an existing scheme? Lots of organisations run schemes to support people to engage with the public.
  • 2. Get talking
    • It always helps to talk to someone who has engaged with the public themselves. There are bound to be people in your organisation who could help. Here are some of the teams you might have: Public Engagement; Outreach; Widening Participation; Knowledge Transfer; Marketing and Communication; Volunteering.
  • 3. Join a network
    • Lots of online mailing lists exist to encourage people to discuss and share public engagement experiences. The NCCPE Public Engagement Network supports higher education staff and students to develop their public engagement work, whilst Psci-Comm offers an opportunity to engage with science engagers.
  • 4. Be inspired
    • Check out our case studies to find out about how others have been engaging with the public.
  • 5. Start small
    • There are lots of ways to get involved and develop your experiences and skills. Your university may already run open days and would be only too delighted if you volunteered to help. Also you don't have to start with face to face engagement. Why not offer to write something for your department's website?
  • 6. Try our four step plan
    • If you are ready to plan your engagement activity these four steps might help you on your way:
    • Purpose: Why do you want to engage with the public?
    • Audience: Who do you want to engage with - and why would they be interested in engaging with you?
    • Activity: What do you plan to do?
    • Evaluation: How will you know if your activity will be successful
    • Read our ‘Plan it’ section for more information.
  • 7. Train and do
  • 8. Become a Public Engagement Ambassador
  • 9. Listen up
    • There has been a tradition of university staff setting themselves up as the expert and the audience as the recipients of this expert knowledge. However, effective engagement is not framed this way. More important than being able to talk is being able to listen.
  • 10. Other resources
    • This website is a growing set of resources to support people engaging with the public. Take a look at our Resources, Funding and Training sections for more information.