Public engagement with research is increasingly seen as a vital part of the research process, especially by funders such as the Research Councils. It’s doesn’t just have to be about disseminating results either: innovative approaches to public engagement may focus on involvement in the research process itself, either by being part of a user group for the research, in schools work and outreach, interaction with researchers using social media, or in exhibits at festivals which can double as a method of research evaluation.
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition gives exhibitors a chance to be part of the UK’s most prestigious science show. A large number of secondary school students attend this event which gives potential exhibitors the chance to encourage and positively influence the next generation of university students and scientists. If you think you have an idea for an interactive and hands-on exhibit showcasing the cutting edge of UK science research, you can apply to be part of the Summer Science Exhibition. The deadline is 24th October 2011.
Meanwhile, CATALYSTS is a new opportunity from Research Councils UK which will support a small number of institutions to embed public engagement within their research culture. This is a strategic level funding opportunity which seeks HEIs willing to encourage researchers and staff at all levels to think innovatively about public engagement, and to give reward and recognition to those researchers who put this into practice. Up to £300,000 is available for projects of 3 years and the deadline for institutions to submit proposals is 17th November 2011.
Recently I’ve also blogged about Ingenious, a scheme which offers funding for engineers to carry out an innovative public engagement project to communicate their research to a wider audience. Grants of between £3,000 and £30,000 are available. You can still apply for funding from this scheme until 14th October 2011.