Help and resources
NERC and Research Councils UK (RCUK) want to support researchers to fulfil their public engagement responsibilities. There are a number of resources available to explain our expectations and to provide ideas and support for your activities.
Our Public Engagement Strategy, below, guides us in our approach to public engagement:
The RCUK Statement of Expectations for Societal & Economic Impact - external link - sets out researchers' responsibilities to achieve maximum impact from their publicly funded work.
The RCUK Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research - external link - aims to help embed public engagement in universities and research institutes by setting out the expectations and responsibilities of research funders and researchers, to strengthen good practice in public engagement and ensure it is valued and supported.
The RCUK best practice guides and publications - external link - will help you get the most out of your public engagement activities including evaluating their success.
NERC's public engagement training course, free to all NERC-funded researchers and staff, develops your communication skills with the media and general public.
Other free courses include:
- Online public engagement training from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement - external link.
- Media workshops by Sense about Science - external link.
Schemes & activities
Taking part in an established scheme can be a good way to get started in public engagement. Many accept applications year-round.
- I'm a scientist, get me out of here! - external link
- Nuffield Research Placements - external link
- STEM Ambassadors - external link
You can develop bespoke activities for engaging a particular audience with your research. Examples include:
- Stand and displays at science festivals or other relevant events.
- Working with schools.
- Hosting or attending a talk, seminar or debate.
- Café scientifique.
- Open day at your lab.
- Social and multimedia - blogs, tweets, podcasts, etc.
- Citizen science.
Your own research organisation may offer advice and training, and perhaps run public engagement schemes or activities you can take part in.
Remember that the NERC communications team can help you promote your work through news, features and podcasts on the Planet Earth website, and articles in Planet Earth magazine. For news and press releases you need to let us know as soon as you have a paper accepted for publication.
You may apply for funds for a specific training course as part of your pathways to impact plan. You will have to justify your choice of third-party training over NERC's in-house course.
Researchers who have attended NERC's engaging the public with your research training course may be eligible to apply for up to £2,000 to develop their own public engagement resources.