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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at The University of Cambridge

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PE For Researchers

Public Engagement for Researchers

This page highlights some specific opportunities for students and researchers to engage thru communications and become involved in public engagement activity plus a few ideas for approaches.

1. University of Cambridge Public Engagement Web Site and Bulletin

Start with information. A great way to keep public engagement on your personal agenda is to visit the public enagagement website periodically, and sign up for the University PE monthly bulletin.

2. University of Cambridge Research Communications : Do you have a story to tell?

Communication is an important part of research, helping engage the public, inform debate and demonstrate the importance of research, and can even lead to new collaborations. If you think your research will be of interest to the public – in particular, if you are about to publish in a journal or have reached a significant milestone in your work – then please get in touch with  in the Research Communications team. Contact details: craig.brierley@admin.cam.ac.uk or x(7)66205.

3.  Training - because you can never have enough of it!

Build your knowledge and confidence. From time to time the University PE team offers training opportunities designed to help you get involved in public engagement.

The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) also lists training opportunities.Dates have been published for the 2018 Rising Stars course run by the University. Participants attend five half-day sessions between January and March. Sessions cover: Introduction to public engagement, Creating innovative interactive and hands-on activities for public Festivals, Communication skills and creating engaging content, Essential event co-ordination; marketing, health & safety, event evaluation. Applications close: 5th January 2018

4. Citizen Science and PPI- inlude engagagement in your research design

Condier integrating public engagement fully into your research proposal  at the start by designing studies using a Citizen Science approach or incoporating Patient and Public Involvement

5. Festivals and Events - meet the public.

A great way to get face time with members of the public without having to organise a whole event yourself. CID annually takes part in the following local events:  (and if you would like to volunteer contact the coordinator at alw83@cam.ac.uk )

  • Cambridge Science Festival- annually in March
  • Pint of Science - annually in May
  • Big Biology Day- annually in October
  • MRC Festival of Medical Research - annually in June

6. Funding for Public Engagement Activities and Initiatives

The NCCPE have listings of funding sources for public engagement activity arranged by discipline.

Do you need help writing a Public Engagement grant application or the PE section of a research grant? Contact us – we may be able to help or put you in touch with an appropriate person.

7. Ideas for Public Enagagement Activities and Initiatives - for introverts and extroverts

If you’re sold on the idea of Public Engagement but you’d prefer not to see yourself on TV or to take centre stage, then you could consider other approaches to play to your particular strengths.

  • Write – articles, a blog, for a website…in a style that will inform and engage a non-scientific audience. Can you make it two-way by inviting comment or debate? Can you produce materials suitable to use in an educational setting?
  • Produce materials that are easy to follow such as videos or infographics
  • Use social media - you can quantitatvely measure your results on Twitter (see the University’s social media guidance)
  • Work with museums or other public buildings to stage exhibits
  • Support public engagement activity as part of a team

On the NCCPE website you will find lots more ideas for approaches to PE and schemes/other support opportunities

Examples and case studies from past or current PE projects can also provide inspiration. The NCCPE website offers a range of case studies.

Creativity tools can help you to generate ideas that may not come naturally. There are loads out there, for example you could try The Creative Researcher from Vitae or Mindtools.com.

7. Competitions and Awards

Entering competitions can not only offer recognition for your Public Engagement work but can help you to hone your skills and generate materials and publicity that can engage members of the public directly.

FameLab is an international competition open to scientists, mathematicians and engineers that challenges you to convey a scientific concept in just 3 minutes.

Doctoral candidates in any discipline can enter a three Minute thesis competition (3MT) – a concept developed by the University of Queensland to support graduate students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Some Cambridge colleges run competitions.

University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s ‘Public Engagement in Research Award’. 

The next UK national Engage competition will run in 2019.

8.  Policy Enagagement - University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy

CSaP works with researchers to help prepare 'Pathways to Impact' statements when applying for Research Council funding. In addition, you might consider including funding in your research prroposal to  co-create opportunities for Policy Fellows or Policy Workshops to enahance the policy value and reach of your planned work. For more information, and details about the costs involved, please  visit the web site and contact Nicola Buckley.

 

 

 

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