Webinar: Public engagement as a pathway to impact

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Please register your interest for the webinar using your official organisational email and be advised that you will receive an email with joining instructions after registration closes. Ensure that you follow those instructions to successfully attend the webinar.

Registration for this webinar will close on Thursday 19th of April.


Public engagement with research can provide substantial benefits to both researchers and the public, as well as major contributions to society. A review of the REF 2014 Impact Case Studies, led by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), revealed that nearly half of the case studies submitted featured some aspect of public engagement as one of their routes to impact. That engagement led to a variety of significant impacts, particularly in stimulating discussion, dialogue and debate that deepened understanding, influenced policy and practice, improved products and services, developed individual’s skills and efficacy and brought new networks into being.

Assessing the impact(s) arising from public engagement can be very challenging, as it is for other forms of ‘stakeholder’ engagement, when the influence exerted by the engagement is often a subtle contribution to complex inter-personal processes like learning and cooperation. However, the 2014 case studies revealed that it is possible to make compelling and robust accounts of impacts arising from public engagement. There is also a significant body of work, inside and outside higher education, dedicated to planning and evaluating complex interventions and processes of social change which we can draw on to inform the next REF.

Webinar details

For this webinar we have invited Paul Manners and Sophie Duncan, Directors of NCCPE, to lead the session. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) is internationally recognised for its work supporting and inspiring universities to engage with the public.

The NCCPE is currently developing a framework to inform the guidance for assessing public engagement in REF 2021. This involves synthesizing the key lessons learned from REF 2014, and from the extensive literature about evaluation and ‘what works’ in effective engagement and evaluation processes. A summary of the framework will be shared with webinar participants before the session.

The webinar will run for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, in which we will explore:

• Lessons learned about the assessment of impacts arising from public engagement in REF 2014
• The NCCPE’s draft framework describing the key pathways to impact realised through engaging the public with research
• How HEIs and researchers can apply this framework to inform their planning for REF 2021

The webinar will also include a Q&A session with our guest speakers.

Who should attend?
• REF Managers, Impact Officers, Research Support Officers, and, Public Engagement Professionals
• Academic Impact Leads, or, Impact Champions
• Directors of Research seeking to understand and develop impact strategies for their department(s)

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