It’s November; the time for underwhelming Christmas markets and for Public Engagement professionals UK-wide to get together and
party share best practice at the annual Engage Conference, which for 2018 has moved from Bristol to Edinburgh. And delegates from the UoB PER Team were in the mood for a large glass of ‘best practice’ last night as Professor Tim Softley (PVC, Research) and Dr Eliot Marston (Head of Strategic Projects and Partnerships in MDS, and long-time champion of UoB Public Engagement), accepted a Silver Engage Watermark Award on behalf of the Institution (if you’re interested in our acceptance video, see here, the UoB press release is here and NCCPE blog post is here). The Watermark Award, sometimes likened to an ‘Athena Swann for PER’ recognises the commitment to Public Engagement at UoB and also challenges us to further embed it throughout the fabric of our research environment.
The NCCPE (National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement), which is the national body that assesses and grants Watermark Awards, praised our commitment to PER, recognising the incredible hard work of Research Engagement Officer, Caroline Gillett, and excellent support schemes, such as Leading to Engage (L2E) (which will be relaunching in the new year). But we know there’s more to do. We’ve created a Watermark Action Plan in which we have outlined a range of commitments to improve and expand our support for high quality engagement, such as a new Award (watch this space for details), more training opportunities, like our Creative Engagement which starts with Graphic Engagement on 6th December, plus much more that you’ll be hearing about in the coming weeks and months. So now we’re off to raise a glass or two to every single one of you who has been involved with doing or supporting engagement at UoB, the Watermark is for all your hard work in bringing amazing research to the public. Cheers!
But that’s not all we’ve got to celebrate – read on to hear about the 2018 winner of the Medical and Dental Sciences Early Career (PERCAT) Excellence in Public Engagement Award, plus of course our usual plethora of opportunities and events to take you into an engaging 2019.