Reports and reviews

The State of Play: Public Engagement with Research in UK Universities

A report commissioned by RCUK and Wellcome (2016).

updated on 04 Oct 2023
2 minutes read

There have been a number of separate analyses that have sought to investigate the extent of public engagement within UK Universities. This includes new research, desk research, literature reviews, and evaluations. This report was commissioned by RCUK and the Wellcome Trust to synthesise these studies and help us better understand:

• What the sum of evidence tells us about the current key highlights, barriers and challenges for public engagement in the research and Higher Education (HE)sector;

• What the combined evidence indicates about the extent (breadth and depth) of public engagement culture change1 within the research and HE sector as itstands;

• The feasibility of benchmarking the current state of development of culture change in public engagement with research against what is already known about other recent examples of whole sector culture change such as efforts to support research careers or research-led teaching.

To help answer these questions, we adapted the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) EDGE tool NCCPE (2016) and mapped key findings from the literature and our subsequent interviews against this. This in turn has helped to assess the stage and trajectory of public engagement with research and provide a basis for further discussion on priority areas for intervention or support going forward. Findings from this research were used to stimulate discussion during a workshop in July 2016. The discussions from the workshop have been synthesised and included in this report where relevant.

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