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The University of Southampton
Working as a Researcher

Public engagement

Public Engagement has come to prominence within higher education over the last decade and its importance is increasingly recognised across all areas of university activity. It offers researchers a rich range of opportunities for getting involved, experiencing collaboration and leadership, as well as the co-design, co-production, and impact of/with research.

At Public Engagement's heart is a commitment to wider societal benefit, to dialogue and to mutuality; and a mind-set which recognises the public ‘stake’ in the work of universities, and the importance of listening to and acknowledging public concerns, and the potential contribution of ‘non-academic’ expertise and knowledge.

These values resonate strongly with many researchers who want to see their work making a difference in the world. Engaging with people beyond the bounds of the university can be enriching – to the research process, its outputs and impact AND in terms of personal satisfaction. It can help you to keep in tune with societal concerns (general or specifically focused), ensuring that your work, and the way that you do it, is relevant for the 21st century. It can help you to develop new skills and connections, leading to exciting (and sometimes unexpected) opportunities: new partnerships and collaborations, new research directions, and even alternative career trajectories.

Take a look at the Public Engagement with Research unit’s website to find out more

Other opportunities

Faculty/department outreach:  Individual faculties, schools or departments may have a designated Outreach contact or group, for example, Engineering and the Environment.

There's also support for work with schools and colleges with the University's Schools and Colleges Outreach team.

Publish: Research For All is 'an open-access journal focusing on research that involves universities and communities, services or industries working together'.  If you have been involved with public engagement, especially as an ECR or PGR, you may like to consider publishing in this area.  

Join: The Public engagement network group provides an informal forum for colleagues to meet and discuss issues and themes of common interest within the various spheres of public engagement activity, and to share good practice. It is open to staff (both professional services and academic) and postgraduate researchers from all parts of the University. The Public Engagement Network Group meets over lunch every six weeks or so

The University of Southampton is a signatory to the Manifesto for Public Engagement.

Useful resources

Research Councils UK

UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.


National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement advises the HE sector across all disciplines, and can also sponsor Public Engagement Ambassadors.  


The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CASE) includes news, reports, blogs and comments on STEM education.  

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