Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research

Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research

The Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research outlines the expectations and responsibilities of research funders with respect to public engagement, to help embed public engagement in universities and research institutes. This will enhance the future of research and benefit the UK society and economy.

By setting out clear expectations for research organisations, researcher managers and supporters and researchers themselves, the Concordat aims to strengthen existing good practice in public engagement by ensuring it is valued, recognised and supported.

The Concordat consists of a set of key principles for the future support of public engagement, and under each principle, an explanation of how it may be embedded into institutional practice.

The Concordat's key principles:

  1. UK research organisations have a strategic commitment to public engagement
  2. Researchers are recognised and valued for their involvement with public engagement activities
  3. Researchers are enabled to participate in public engagement activities through appropriate training, support and opportunities
  4. The signatories and supporters of this Concordat will undertake regular reviews of their and the wider research sector’s progress in fostering public engagement across the UK

The aim of the Concordat is to inspire Universities to embed support for activities which foster public engagement with their research in their strategies and to encourage researchers to commit fully to public engagement activities as part of their professional development. It builds on work done by the RCUK through its Beacons for Public Engagement project and the work of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

The NCCPE defines public engagement as follows:
‘Public engagement describes the many ways in which higher education institutions and their staff and students can connect and share their work with the public. Done well, it generates mutual benefit, with all parties learning from each other through sharing knowledge, expertise and skills. In the process, it can build trust, understanding and collaboration, and increase the sector's relevance to, and impact on, civil society’.

Public engagement in research activity includes:

  • Lectures and talks to non-academic audiences
  • Fairs
  • Podcasts aimed at non-academic audiences
  • Articles in non-academic media
  • Engaging the public as researchers
  • Involvement in communities of practice

The University undertook a mapping exercise in 2011 measuring its practice against the principles and identifying areas for development.