Dr Caroline Gillett / PER Officer, Planning Office

Dr Caroline Gillett

Caroline works as Public Engagement with Research (PER) Officer, a post funded through the RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund (2015-17). Situated within Research Planning (the team who lead on REF submission) she works to support activities related to public engagement with research (PER) with a specific focus on creating momentum for culture change around PER, to ensure such activity is better embedded and recognized within the University’s policies, procedures and practices. She is also a key member of the Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) and has instigated the move to see this group report into University Research Committee, effective as of 2016.

As part of the first year of RCUK CSF, Caroline has been involved in the creation of a new institutionally approved PER strategy  which was co-developed with input from academics, Professional Services and PER advocates such as the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). Caroline is also involved in the organization and delivery of public engagement training/workshops and other participatory PER events across the University and with key partners such as Birmingham Open Media (BOM). She can provide support for external/internal PER funding applications, Pathways to Impact statements and PER impact planning for REF when appropriate. She is working with colleagues in other areas to pursue more formal recognition for PER/Impact activities within researcher’s professional development, academic promotions and workloads, with an emphasis on quality over quantity engagement. This is not a move to require all researchers to do public engagement. On the contrary, our aim is to better support those who want to or already do PER. We still have a long way to go, however!

Previously Caroline served as Public Engagement Coordinator (2014) and she programmes PERC’s now annual Public Engagement with Research Day. Entering its fourth year, the next PER Day is likely to take place in December 2017 #PERday17.

Caroline has run the Pay-it-Forward with Public Engagement (PhDs/ECRs) scheme and is currently leading on the Leading to Engage (mid-career researchers) programme. She is also the module leader for the Graduate School’s Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Research Methods & Skills (PGCARMS): Public Engagement for Postgraduates course. Caroline curates content on this blog and she welcomes contributions and/or suggestions for improvements. 


Caroline’s research background is in Psychology (BSc), working on visual attention change blindness under Professor Glyn Humphreys for her dissertation. She subsequently completed a MRes in Brain Imaging and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience under supervision from Professor Chris Miall and Dr Kimberly Quinn. Her research interests include: motor control and cognition, interpersonal coordination, neural and behavioral investigations of the so-called Mirror Neuron System, the influence of top-down and bottom-up factors in synchronization, trade-offs in equity and efficiency in decision-making during interpersonal performance and related areas of social cognition. She also has a broader interest in brain imaging and complementary techniques such as rTMS.

In addition to working at the University, Caroline has spent time volunteering, interning and working in the arts, carrying out liaison, production and programme coordinator roles, including involvement in the delivery of the interdisciplinary and experimental Supersonic Festival 2010-2014, Fierce Festival (2011), Bring to Light Festival (2013) and helping run workshops as part of the re-opening of the central Library of Birmingham ‘Discovery Season’ (2013). In 2012 she took on a cultural internship with Town Hall & Symphony Hall, arranged through Cultural Engagement at UoB.

Email: c.d.t.gillett@bham.ac.uk