10th anniversary year, awards and funding!

9th January 2018
UCL Engagement
2018 marks the UCL Public Engagement Unit’s 10th anniversary and a chance to celebrate together, to pause and reflect on what we have collectively achieved in the last decade and to start a conversation about where we want to get to by 2028.
Lead image credit: Ellen Filor, for Global Stories project, part of East India at Home

In 2008, UCL was one of six Beacons for Public Engagement established by HEFCE, RCUK and Wellcome Trust to inspire culture change in how universities engaged with the public. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the outstanding work of so many of you and your community partners locally, nationally and internationally, the culture of engagement at UCL has gone from strength to strength. UCL Culture now encompasses one of the largest centrally-funded public engagement teams in the country and there is a growing community of skilled and dedicated public engagement practitioners within UCL’s staff and student body.

Since 2008, the Public Engagement Unit has advised on 1294 projects, trained over 5000 researchers, hosted public engagement events attracting over 74,000 participants and contributed to successful external research grant applications totalling almost £128 million.

In a triple hurrah to mark our anniversary year, we have three opportunities for you to take your public engagement work to new heights this year.

2017 Provost Awards
Nominations are now open for the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement, an opportunity to celebrate not just the work of the last year but also the public engagement journey that we have been on as an institution.  

We are also launching the 10th year of the Beacon Bursary funding scheme. With up to £2000 of funding available per applicant, previously supported projects have been both ambitious and incredibly diverse. They include art workshops exploring faith in urban populations and working with patients to create a cookbook of recipes to help alleviate symptoms of macular degeneration. If you need money to involve a public group in your research find out how to apply now.

For PhD students who are alumni of UCL public engagement training, we invite you to apply for up to £1000 from Train and Engage– a chance to dip your toe in the public engagement water and put your newly-acquired knowledge to practical use on a project relating to your own research.

You can read about our ambitions for the future on the UCL Culture blog and see the plans already set out in UCL’s Public Engagement Strategy.

But what have your experiences of engagement at UCL been? And what are your ambitions for the future? We’d love to hear from you and will be gathering and sharing your thoughts on public engagement past and future as this anniversary year progresses.

Here’s to the next ten years!


More to look out for in 2018:

Provosts Awards for Public Engagement – Deadline 5th March 2018

These awards celebrate the outstanding work done by UCL staff and students, and their community partners, to bring together UCL research and teaching with the needs, interests and expertise of those outside the institution.

Awards recognise students, professional services staff and academic/research staff at all career levels. They also reflect the valuable commitment made by the community partners who work so closely with UCL people to make public engagement possible.

Information on how to nominate someone for an award and what kind of work is eligible is available on our website.

We look forward to celebrating the achievements of all nominees at the awards ceremony in June.


Audiences with interactive game

Ever considered how your research could impact a wider community beyond the university? The UCL Culture Public Engagement Unit is now accepting applications for its flagship funding programs: the Beacon Bursaries, and Train and Engage funding. Through these funding schemes, UCL staff and students can connect with public groups, benefiting their own research and the lives of public partners.

Beacon Bursaries – Deadline Midnight, Sunday 17th June 2018

Beacon Bursaries are designed to support staff and postgraduate research students at UCL to engage with public groups. This scheme funds public engagement activities that increase staff and postgraduate research students’ activity, skills, and understanding of public engagement. Up to £2,000 is available through this fund.

In 2017, Beacon Bursaries supported staff and students to create a participatory photography exhibition in Rwanda, host workshops with young people with chronic rheumatic conditions, create storytelling maps in Cornwall, and to run a beatboxing workshop with patients who have had laryngectomies. The bursaries have funded a host of activities in previous years, and for more information and guidance on this round, and information on previous projects, please visit our project page.

Train and Engage – Deadline Midnight, Sunday 3rd June 2018

The aim of the Train and Engage grant scheme is to increase activity, skills and understanding of public engagement among postgraduate research students across UCL. Only those who have attended training delivered by the PEU are able to apply for the funding of up to £1,000. If you have been funded through this scheme in the past, you are not eligible for this round.

In 2017, Train and Engage funding supported postgraduate research students to work on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. This funding is a valuable public engagement development opportunity, and for information and guidance for this round, please visit our project page.

*With all of our funding schemes, it is essential that applicants read the guidance, and we recommend that they also contact the unit to discuss their proposals.
For any help or questions about applying for funding, please email publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk

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