RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund:


LEADING TO ENGAGE (L2E) is a pilot programme that will recruit enthusiastic, forward-thinking College representatives with a passion for public engagement with research, civic responsibility and peer-to-peer mentorship. Mid-career candidates are invited to nominate themselves for inclusion in the cohort. Nominations will be reviewed by the Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) who will confirm the appropriateness of candidates with Heads of School/College and Directors of Research, who will make final decisions.

Expressions of interest should be sent to Public Engagement with Research Officer, Dr Caroline Gillett  ideally by December 22nd, 2015. Please put ‘L2E’ in the title of your email and provide a brief paragraph explaining your motivation for applying as well as any relevant experience you might already have doing public engagement. [The opportunity is not suitable for PhD/Masters students or Teaching Only staff].

The programme will take a maximum of four candidates per College, therefore candidates are encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to seek approval from DORs etc. The L2E cohort will be announced in early-mid January.

The Programme is designed to catalyse culture change for public engagement with research within the Colleges, using a sustainable model which will enable candidates to take ownership of public engagement with research strategy within their College, helping lead College direction in this area with support from PERC and other relevant parties. The cohort will be invited to join PERC and it is hoped that PERC minutes will feed into Research and Research & Knowledge Transfer Committees.

Candidates are reminded that participation in the Programme will require a definite time commitment which they should be aware of before applying. There will be different phases to the Programme:

PHASE ONE: PERC Induction and Workshops Programme

  • Introduction to PERC Thursday Jan 14th, 1pm
    • Overview of PERC’s new strategy
    • Outline of Programme
    • Opportunity for discussion with chairs Professors Ian Grosvenor and Alice Roberts
  • Cohort workshops every two-to-three weeks over Jan, Feb, March (4 workshops total):
  1. Public engagement with research

This workshop will explore the background, rationale and national landscape of PER. We will invite the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), the nationally recognized public engagement body, to lead this session. Directors of Research, the PVC for Research & Knowledge Transfer and other key figures will be invited to join the cohort on this day to explore and adapt the PER strategy in relation to the needs of their own Colleges, whilst aligning to the Strategic Framework. [Likely to take place on a Wednesday in mid-late January, Duration: ¾ day]

  1. The relationship between engagement and impact

This workshop session will be led by the Research Planning Team [Likely to take place on a Wednesday in early February, Duration:  ½ day]

  1. Audiences, expertise and engagement possibilities

This workshop will focus on how engagement can be embedded at different stages of the research lifecycle from design, delivery, participation and dissemination, with examples. It will also explore ‘publics’ and public needs/expertise whilst raising awareness of the training, opportunities and support on offer at the University e.g. media training, Cultural Partnerships etc.  [Likely to take place on a Wednesday in late February, Duration: ½ day]

  1. Sustainability and evaluation

This workshop will look at how to evaluate public engagement activity, exploring questions of legacy and sustainability [Likely to take place on a Wednesday in early March, Duration: ½ day]

PHASE TWO: College Strategy and General Responsibilities Associated with the Role

  • The cohort will help development and embedding of a PER strategy that works within their College (a document drafted after workshop 1)
  • Identify quarterly winners for PE activity (Reward & Recognition monitoring)
  • Identify case studies from their College for blog/newsletter etc. to share best practice across the University (Sharing best practice, Reward & Recognition monitoring)
  • Signposting support, championing PER activity & PERC attendance

PHASE THREE: Cohort Projects

There is a £10,000 pot of money for use by the cohort, equating to £2000 per College. This should be used to help embed and implement the College PER strategy (which will be written as part of workshop 1). The money is also to be used for a College public engagement showcase project. This could be used in a number of ways, for instance…


  • Hiring a venue in the city centre for a College-led public engagement showcase
  • Production of props for use within the College
  • Participation fee at a non-traditional event to engage new audiences

The projects must include a delivery phase –where public engagement will take place. This should be as inclusive as possible to ensure a diverse range of research from each College is represented. This project money should be used to fund activity which would not otherwise be supported through internal/College funds.

PHASE FOUR: End of Project Presentation and Report for PERC/RCUK (by end of July 2016)

  • A presentation on their project to DORs/PERC/RCUK. Essentially this would cover what they did with the money, why and whether it worked.
  • A project evaluation report. This is required by the RCUK.
  • Feedback on the L2E Programme which PERC will use to report back to the RCUK on.
  • Ideas for sustainability and next steps. This might outline a budget plan, additional support/ resources needed etc. to drive momentum forward beyond the end of the grant.
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