What do research funding councils think about public engagement?

‘Research improves lives. It brings advantages to individuals and societies, as beneficiaries of research and through a sustained engagement between researchers and their publics, stimulated by new knowledge and understanding. Relevance, trust, accountability and transparency are the cornerstones of the relationship between research and society.’

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website

‘Universities, their staff and students connect and share their work with the public in many ways.

Universities are already involved in a huge amount of public engagement. A survey of 22,000 academics in 2009 found that over 35% were involved in some kind of outreach activity.

We support university staff in carrying out this work.’

Scottish Funding Council (SFC)

‘Our science in society activities in public engagement are overseen by the Bioscience for Society Strategy Advisory Panel whose membership includes experts in social science, ethics and education.

We are focusing our public engagement activities around our strategic themes and will help to deliver UK Research and Innovation’s public engagement strategy.

We work with many other organisations including the British Science Association, The Royal Society and Understanding Animal Research.’

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

‘Public engagement (PE) involves activities that bring researchers and the public together. It is more than just meeting an audience and telling them about your research – effective public engagement is about two-way communication, with the researchers listening to and learning from participants.’

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

‘Under EPSRC’s Royal Charter, one of our objectives is to “generate public awareness; communicate research outcomes; encourage public engagement and dialogue; and disseminate knowledge”.’

Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)

‘Sharing our research work with the public who fund it and the wider world is a crucial part of the MRC mission.’

Medical Research Council (MRC)

‘As the leading commissioner of UK environmental science, NERC emphasises the value of public engagement. NERC has a mission to engage the public with environmental science.’

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

‘Public engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics has always been important to STFC. We are funded by the UK public: listening, understanding, and discussing their views of the impact of science and technology on society is both our responsibility and our privilege.’

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)