Public engagement: A pathway to impact

Public engagement is a great starting point when thinking about the impact your research may have on wider society.  Public engagement is multi-faceted. In the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE)  review of the REF case studies in 2014 they discovered lots of terms that people use when describing public engagement with research. These included outreach, patient-involvement, collaborative research, citizen science, participatory arts, lifelong learning, community engagement, and engagement with partners. In addition universities engage through community based learning, widening participation, corporate social responsibility etc. Whilst the purposes behind these approaches, and the processes, are different, what they all have in common is describing an aspiration to better connect the work of universities and research institutes with society.

A case study of public engagement as a pathway to impact

Professor Robbie Aitken’s research on Germany’s Black diaspora is a good example of one of the ways research can have an impact through public engagement.

Professor Aitken has made visible the forgotten history of Germany’s first Black community (1884-1945), enabling new narratives of the German past to be told. In shaping exhibition projects in Germany and through staging his own exhibition in the UK, Germany, and Cameroon his work has had local and international impact.  This short video provides a snapshot of Professor Aitken’s research findings.

Image of Being Black in Nazi Germany video

Visit the Research in action pages for more detailed information on Professor Aitken’s research on Germany’s Black diaspora.

National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)

The NCCPE has an international reputation for inspiring and supporting universities to engage with the public.  The NCCPE’s web pages contain a range of resources on how universities can increase their public engagement activities.  Information includes public engagement case studies, including research from SHU’s Dr Jen Slater highlighting the politics of the toilet. and tools and techniques on how to plan, fund, deliver and evaluate public engagement activities.

For more information on public engagement and research contact the NCCPE team.