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Many universities provide funding for researchers to conduct public engagement activities. There are different types of funding – so you need to work out what you hope to achieve. Do you want to support innovation in public engagement? Do you want to seed fund projects, which you expect to then continue beyond the initial funding? Do you want large-scale projects or smaller pilot ones?
Making the most of seed funding
Like Awards, funding can help with other aspects of your culture change work. You can invite people you wish to influence to sit on a review panel. You can keep close to the projects that you’ve funded and use them as case studies for communication or training.
Clarify your culture change aims
Using funding in this way can have a number of benefits to both researchers and the public engagement professionals in your institution. For example, funding can enable:
- Higher visibility of PE support at the institution.
- Researchers to access public engagement expertise.
- Public engagement professionals (PEPs) to broker relationships between researchers and publics.
- Opportunities for researchers to build relationships with their publics.
- Opportunities for researchers to try out an idea on a small scale before submitting it for external funding.
- PEPs to gain an understanding of the types of public engagement projects that are emerging in their institutions.
- PEPs to guide the evaluation of PE activities.
Plan the process carefully
If you decide to have competitive funding you may want to consider aspects such as:
- Rolling or fixed deadline.
- Who is on the review panel?
- Making the application process proportionate to the money available.
- If tiered funding would be appropriate.
- How much advice you are prepared to give prospective applicants.