University of Reading

Why we've signed the Manifesto

"As a University we know we can achieve extraordinary things by interacting and collaborating with people outside of academia. Effective engagement works for everyone. We want to stimulate on-going public interest in and understanding of our research, and bring about positive change through this engagement. There are many ways people can be involved in the design, conduct and outcomes of research, and this brings benefits to researchers and to the wider public alike.”

Professor Dominik Zaum, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation

Our approach to public engagement

By  engaging the public in our research we aim to foster better understanding of research, to facilitate participation in informed debate and collaborative research, and to create opportunities for knowledge exchange with audiences in our local area, across the UK and internationally. We do this by engaging with members of the public through a vibrant events programme, by working with external partners and organisations, and by involving people as active participants in and co-producers of our research.

We are motivated by: 

  • ENTHUSIASM for our research – working with motivated people both within the University and wider publics lends energy and inspiration to what we do.
  • OPENNESS to new things – we see engagement as a learning process for everyone involved.
  • Wanting to MAKE A DIFFERENCE – using our research to achieve social change and transformation at the local, national and global level.
  • COLLABORATIONS – and the possibility to learn and interact with people from different disciplines, from different backgrounds, from different interest groups.
  • Using a wide range of APPROACHES – public events and festivals, innovative social media engagement, citizen science and crowd-sourcing, participatory action research, consultation, co-design and co-production, and debate, dialogue and discussion.
  • The RESOURCES we have available on our campus – our people, knowledge, and facilities such as museums, libraries, archives and buildings – and our desire to make them accessible and open to our neighbours and fellow researchers. Among these are the Museum of English Rural Life, the Cole Museum of Zoology, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, our archives and special collections, and unique grounds such as the Harris Garden and university farms.
  • Our HISTORY – with our roots in the Schools of Science and Art that were set up following the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the University of Oxford ‘extension college’ that came to Reading in 1885, the University has a long history of widening participation in education and public engagement.


How we support public engagement with research

We coordinate a network of researchers and professionals across the University and hold regular seminars, workshops and networking opportunities to build and sustain institutional capacity for public engagement with research.

Our annual Research Engagement and Impact Awards  celebrate excellence in public engagement with research and are a core part of the University’s commitment to making engagement with the wider community integral to our working culture and practice. The shortlisted projects for recent awards showcase the creativity and enthusiasm of our researchers, and highlights collaborations with schools, community groups, charities and NGOs; with filmmakers, museums and cultural groups; with policy shapers and policymakers; with patient groups and medical staff; and with local and global businesses and industry. Together they are achieving influence and bringing about change.


Name: Caroline Knowles 

Title: Head of Research Communications and Engagement


Telephone: 0118 378 3894