Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Bringing research to life: Information for researchers

The roadshow is a modular framework designed to help researchers at the University of Southampton develop effective ways of sharing their work with the public. As well as providing one valuable kind of public engagement infrastructure, it addresses two concerns: firstly, that public engagement activity can sometimes become too time-consuming for researchers; and secondly, that it can be tricky to turn very successful one-off events into sustainable longer-term projects. We invite researchers to construct a module (see below) which will become part of a centrally-organised roadshow. We can offer expertise, some funding during the development phase, and we can keep the module on tour long after your initial input. You and your students have the option to be directly involved in presenting it to the public. But if you don't have the time to present it yourself, your module will still be on the road, giving people the chance to engage with your research.

What would my roadshow "module" look like?

We are keen to make the structure as flexible as possible. An applicant might develop an interactive stand or exhibit, the materials for a debate or a talk, or a game that highlights the impact of their research. Ideally, the applicants themselves might present the material for some audiences (for example, at higher profile events) while the material can also be presented in other contexts by Student Ambassadors or postdocs. The audiences could be children and young people (for example at schools/colleges events), or adults (for example, at a festival). Your module can be whatever you would like to develop to demonstrate why your research matters (within the funding limitations). Be creative! At the very least, we will help you to generate a high-quality web-compatible video for use on the roadshow, on campus video-walls and on the web.

What's the background/context?

The University has a track record of supporting successful research roadshows, recent examples being "Oceans on Wheels" and "Spectrum of Science" . These were primarily training vehicles to build public engagement skills among PGRs and ECRs. They toured a set of researcher-developed engagement activities to the region's schools, colleges and community venues, Cheltenham Science Festival and the Royal Society Summer Exhibition. This new roadshow is a re-imagined, flexible and more sustainable version that can host a range of research within its structure.

Will it suit all research projects?

No. Public Engagement is highlighted by RCUK as a possible Pathway to Impact but it may not be appropriate for all proposals/projects. "Researchers are encouraged to actively think about the pathways for realising the potential impact of their research within Research Council grant applications as part of their Pathways to impact. This can include public engagement activities which are project specific and could contribute to generating impact from the research proposed. Applicants can also request resources for these activities". For more information please visit:

Research Council UK website

Is it open to researchers from all Faculties?

Yes, but we appreciate that different disciplines will have varied approaches to public engagement. Talk to us about how we can best adapt the basic structure to meet your needs. For more information about approaches to public engagement, browse the excellent National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement website

Are there any deadlines?

We follow a cycle where we are in active development of new modules from October to February, and on the road from March to September. Talk to us as early as you can in the development period.

I'm preparing a research application. How do I add the roadshow to my Pathways to Impact statement?

Your RIS-based Research Support Officer can help with this. Contact them via: or contact us direct

How do I cost my involvement?

Your Faculty Finance Team can help with this. We have worked with Nigel Dibben to provide a costed framework

Can I access any training on public engagement?

Post-graduate researchers and Early Career Researchers have a dedicated training course available via GradBook  which also opens up opportunities to work with the central outreach team on Learn with US programmes. We aim to develop bespoke public engagement training for academic staff in the near future, but relevant training can be sought through research council schemes.  

Research council schemes websites

Professional bodies also offer relevant training

Professional bodies websites

 If I still have some questions?

Email us at

Privacy Settings