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We help universities engage with the public


Founding of the NCCPE

In February 2007, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) invited applications from higher education institutions to set up six collaborative centres and one co-ordinating centre as part of a four year pilot project. A total of up to £9.2 million was made available. The funders included all the UK HE funding councils, RCUK, and the Wellcome Trust.

Entitled the Beacons for Public Engagement, it was an initiative which brought the funding bodies together for the first time to establish a co-ordinated approach to recognising, rewarding and building capacity for public engagement. 

The University of Bristol and the University of the West of England were selected to host the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, which was formally established in 2008, with its offices on the harbour side in central Bristol.

The Beacons for Public Engagement (2008 – 2011)

The NCCPE worked closely with the 6 Beacon projects between 2008 and 2011 to address the core aim set by the funders:

"To create a culture within UK Higher Education where PE is formalised and embedded as a valued and recognised activity for staff at all levels, and for students."

Much of the content of this website was inspired and informed by the activity of the Beacon projects. Their funding formally ended in December 2011.

The NCCPE since 2011

The NCCPE has continued to receive core funding from the same collective of funders, to consolidate and embed the findings from the Beacons project within the wider sector.

We have supplemented our core funding with a variety of separately funded projects which you can find out more about in the Work with us section.

You can find out more about our history and the context for our work, about what we have learned, and about the challenges we are currently addressing by downloading the short article below summarising out work to date.