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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

Roadshow - 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, help with funding and advice on integrating a Roadshow module in your Pathways to Impact. We ask that you and your students are directly involved in presenting to the public as you are the experts but you don’t have to be present at every event on the list if you don’t wish to be.

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. 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 impact and 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. The Bringing Research to Life Roadshow since 2012 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, and we appreciate from experience 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 November to February, and on the road from May to early October. 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?

Email and we will send you a draft document that can be adapted for your application.

How do I cost my involvement?

Indicative costs (March 2019) for involvement are as follows:

£12714 – to work with public engagement specialist son activity/stand content specific to this proposal and an additional £6489 to support the annual touring commitments.

[This is the calculated average cost, covering staff time as well as build costs; you may wish to consider scaling this slightly up or down depending on your intentions for content you want to develop (e.g. whether likely to be less or more expensive)]

£6489 – to support the annual touring commitments using a pre-existing stand/activity.

However, we recommend you contact us ( to discuss your ideas fully.

Can I access any training on public engagement?

Staff, post-graduate researchers and Early Career Researchers have a dedicated training course available via StaffBook and GradBook which also opens up opportunities to work with the central outreach team on Learn with US programmes.

If I still have some questions?

Email us at


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