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Public Engagement at Manchester

University of Manchester Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) – Public Engagement Schemes

The University has been awarded Institutional Strategic Support Funding (ISSF) from Wellcome.

As well as supporting research, this fund supports the University’s strategic goal for  Social Responsibility, which includes objectives for Public Engagement (PE) and Civic Engagement.

Our social responsibility activities capture our unique Manchester spirit, motivating communities to research, teach and share their ideas and students to study with us. We have been ranked as one of the top UK universities for our social and environmental impact for two years running (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings).

To support our commitment to social impact, the ISSF Public Engagement (PE) Schemes aim to support and encourage staff and postgraduate students to connect, share and involve the public in our work.

There are two schemes which are open to University Staff, Post-Docs, Postgraduate Students (PhD and PGT) from every faculty:

  • Skill Sharing Programme
  • Professional Development Fund

Skill Sharing Programme for 2022 – 2023

We are hosting a series of online sessions (March 2022 to February 2023) which will provide practical insights about public engagement, with a diverse range of experienced practitioners, sharing case studies and best practice

These sessions follow on from the online masterclasses focusing on engaging audiences digitally 2020-2021.

This programme is primarily aimed University Staff, Post-Docs, Postgraduate Students (PhD and PGT) and Public Contributors with little to no experience in public engagement but are also open to anyone wanting to know more about PE practice.

All sessions are free to attend, will be captioned and BSL interpreted. Where possible we’ll also publish a video recording of the session and/ or additional resources.

Find the full list of sessions and booking instructions below:

Using visual storytelling methods to talk about your research by Hana Ayoob:

Summary: Pictures, diagrams, and other tools can help you to tell engaging and effective stories about your work and research. Hear about how visual elements can add clarity to your stories, discover techniques and tools for creating different visuals and find out how to ensure these visuals remain accessible. During the session you will begin making your own mini zine (pamphlet/magazine) to put these visual storytelling principles into practice.

Resources from this session:

  • Find the recording here
  • Summary of tips and tools: here
  • How to make a simple zine guide: here

Impactful engagement: evaluating your projects by Jamie Gallagher

Summary: Successful public engagement can benefit research, researchers and the public – but how do you go about demonstrating this change? This workshop will guide you through the best evaluation processes showing you When, Why and crucially How to use evaluation to give you reliable and clear data. Demonstrate success to funders; record Impact for REF; learn how to improve your processes and have a better understanding of the people you are connecting with 

Resources from this session

  • Find the recording here

Using traditional storytelling to talk about research and co-creation of stories by Nathaniel Hall

Summary: Using storytelling to talk about your research is an engaging and effective communication technique. In this workshop you’ll learn about the principles of facilitating co-production of stories, best practice in storytelling and how to use storytelling to talk about research

Resources from this session

  • Find the recording here

Speakers and details to be announced for the following:

Accessible and inclusive Public Engagement practice

When: 09/2022 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Summary: This session will feature a roundtable discussion from a range of speakers and internal case studies about accessible and inclusive public engagement practice followed by a Q&A section.

Community Engagement: different ways of working with community partners

When: 02/2023 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Summary:  The session will include case studies about different ways of working with community partners and principles of what makes a good partnership, followed by a Q&A section.

If you have any questions about the sessions please contact Paolo Arru at vocal@mft.nhs.uk

Professional Development Fund

If you want to develop your own skills or those of your team you can apply to the Professional Development Fund.

  • If you’re applying for yourself, you can apply for up to £2000 to cover all expenses related to taking part in your professional development.
  • If you’re applying on behalf of a department/team, you can apply for up to £3000 to cover all expenses related to the development opportunity.

Awards will be made monthly starting in March 2022 and awardees must spend funds by   March 2023.

Apply for this if…

  • You want to boost your team’s public engagement skills
  • You already have a public engagement dimension to your research or role and you want to develop professionally.

What you need to demonstrate in your application:

  • The outcomes you or your team aim to achieve through this development
  • Details of the activity and how you or your team will apply the learning in your work
  • Timescales
  • Budget
  • Evaluation plan
  • Legacy and how you will share your learning with other staff within the University

What we can fund:

  • Public engagement practice and skills (e.g Engage Academy, Little Event, evaluation courses etc)
  • Skills development on delivering Equality Diversity and Inclusion relevant to public engagement (e.g. accessibility, working with diverse audiences)
  • Creative practice relevant for public engagement (e.g. production courses, theatre making, design thinking etc)
  • Practice-focused conferences (e.g. BIG STEM communicators network, Talking Maths in Public, The Presenter Network Conference etc)
  • Ad-hoc opportunities (e.g. mentoring with community groups, creatives etc) on a case-by-case basis
  • Team development opportunities (e.g. facilitator led bespoke team training).

Requirements for awardees who receive the funding:

  • Spend funds by March 2023
  • To acknowledge ISSF and Wellcome funding as part of activities and in any publications
  • To write a blog post about your experience and the outcome of your public engagement activity for University’s ISSF webpages and other relevant channels
  • To participate in the scheme’s monitoring and evaluation process.

To apply:

Deadline: Monthly deadlines, please see more details below.

Send by deadline to: vocal@mft.nhs.uk

When will I know if my application is successful or not? We aim to get back to applicants within 3 weeks of the application deadline.

Please complete the online monitoring form and the application form observing the stated word limits. Please use font Arial 10 pt and submit your application as a Word.

Download the ISSF Professional Development Application Form (word).


  • R4- 09:00am 28/07/2022
  • R5 – 09:00am 12/09/2022
  • R6 – 09:00am 03/10/2022
  • R7 – 09:00am 31/10/2022
  • R8 – 09:00am 21/11/2022
  • R9 – 09:00am 09/01/2023
  • R10 – 09:00am 30/01/2023

For more information or any question related to this programme, please email Paolo Arru on vocal@mft.nhs.uk

Standing up for Science workshop – Friday 01 April 2022, Manchester

The next Voice of Young Scientists “Standing up for Science” workshop is being held at The University of Manchester, on Friday 1 April 2022. Join us to find out how to contribute research findings to public discussions and engage effectively with journalists and policymakers.

Apply for your free place by 21 February, 17:00.

Join us to find out how to make your voice heard in public debates about science. Meet researchers who have engaged with the media or politicians, learn from respected journalists including Dominic Hughes, BBC Health Correspondent, find out how researchers can inform policymakers like Kate Green MP, get hints and tips from communications experts, and find out how to involve the public in communicating research.

You will learn about how to contribute your voice as an early career researcher to public discussions about research and evidence, understand the societal and personal benefits of getting involved, and see how research is used in the media and policymaking. You will take away some tangible and practical engagement ideas.

FREE for STEM and social science early career researchers, trainees and medical professionals.

Complete this form to apply for a free place. Please note, we anticipate this workshop to be heavily over-subscribed and have limited places.

For more details, email Joshua Gascoyne at josh@senseaboutscience.org


Training for early-career STEM communicators from BIG

The Little Event is a training session for people who are new to STEM communication, whether you work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Little Event is crammed with introductory sessions focusing on developing the different skills that are useful in STEM communication; they are delivered by experienced science communicators.

Session 1: Thursday 20 January, 3:00 – 6:30pm and Session 2: Saturday 22 January, 9:00am – 1:15pm

The 2022 Little Event will be online live and spread over two days. The days are designed to work together and are booked as a package (i.e. not sold separately). They are LIVE events, so bear in mind the times given are GMT (London). The 2022 programme includes sessions on Evaluation, Managing Projects, Presenting, Science Capital, and Careers and will include plenty of networking time as well as short comfort breaks.

BIG members: cost £50

Non-members: cost is £85 and includes BIG Membership for 1 year

Read more about the Little Event: https://www.big.uk.com/Little2022

Book the Little Event here: https://www.big.uk.com/event-4547381

Can’t afford to attend the Little Event? BIG offers a few bursaries to
attend which will cover your fees as well as some expenses. Applications
open 1st December. See https://www.big.uk.com/event-4547523 to apply or
https://www.big.uk.com/bursary for more information.

Standing up for Science workshop – 1 December 2021

Applications are now open for our next Standing up for Science workshop taking place on 1 December at Wellcome Collection, London.

The aim of the free workshop is to encourage early career researchers (ECRs) to make their voices heard in public debates about science. Join us to find out how to contribute research findings to public discussions and engage effectively with journalists and policymakers.

The session will be made up of three panels, a researcher panel, media panel and a policy panel, where ECRs can learn what is expected of them from other researchers, journalists and policymakers, routes and pathways to engage with media or policy worlds, as well as useful tips and tricks from the panellists and each other.

Find our more on our Sense About Science webpage and complete the online application form.

The application deadline is 17:00, Monday 1 November.

Posted on behalf of Joshua Gascoyne, Policy Officer, Sense about Science

Policy Engagement Workshop for early career researchers: Apply by 5 July

Voice of Young Scientists (VoYS) has a special opportunity for Early Career Researchers (ECR) in the UK to find out how to communicate evidence to policymakers. 

Applications are now open for our first ever online Policy Engagement workshop taking place on Friday 30 July 2021. See the application form – apply by Monday 5 July.

The workshop will be an interactive experience inspired by Sense about Science’s experience of working with researchers and policymakers over two decades to shape and influence policy at national and international level. ECRs and VoYS members will learn about what policy is and get a breakdown of the British policymaking landscape, understand the societal and personal benefits of getting involved, how evidence is used in policymaking and the routes to engaging with policymakers. ECRs will take away some tangible and practical policy engagement tips and ideas.

Effective decision-making in government is guided by high-quality research, and during the pandemic there’s been an incredible call for ECRs to contribute research evidence to policy discussions. The VoYS Policy Engagement workshop is a chance to answer that call.

Posted on behalf of Hamid Khan , Programme Manager – Research Culture and Quality, Sense about Science
Because evidence matters

www.senseaboutscience.org | @senseaboutsci | Facebook

NERC Impact Development Programme (applications now open until 9 March)

If you would like to increase the impact of your environmental science research, and want to improve your skills in using public engagement to achieve this, then the NERC Impact Development Programme is for you! We will cover the breadth of issues you might encounter, from choosing the best type of public engagement for your specific research; to working through practical issues; to considering how to evaluate your public engagement to find out if it was worth it.

The programme

The Impact Development Programme is a dynamic nine-month professional development opportunity for 40 environmental science researchers to work with the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) to develop their skills in delivering high quality engagement with impact.

The programme includes:

Two online events (31st March and 24th June 2021)

These engaging and specifically tailored events will provide the chance to:

  • Receive expert input on engagement and impact from public engagement experts
  • Participate in interactive group discussions to improve your work and share your feedback with others
  • Hear from other researchers about their engagement and impact work
  • Dedicate time to developing your research and engagement projects, including evaluation plans

The online workshops will be accessible and recorded with regular scheduled screen breaks.

Building connections and expanding support networks is key to navigating the engagement world. The Impact Development Programme will facilitate formal and informal discussions with peers and mentors to help you along the way.

Peer learning
Through small learning groups. The NCCPE work with a pool of experienced mentors from the engagement sector, each learning group will be allocated a mentor to support you in developing your engagement skills.

Is this programme for me?

Applications will be accepted from researchers who are working in NERC remit, based within eligible UKRI eligible research organisations. This includes current and past grant holders, and potential future grant holders, those working across disciplines but linked to environmental science and those who work on NERC funded projects but may not be named on the grant.

Proposals from applicants with diverse backgrounds and experience are encouraged, and there are no limits on amount of postdoctoral experience.
Priority will be given to researchers who can demonstrate that they do not have access to free engagement and impact support and/or networks of those involved in environmental science engagement within their institution or project.

Support to enable researchers to take part

NERC are offering small grants to individuals from UKRI eligible research organisations, who take part in the Impact Development Programme:

  • Small grants will be available to cover time spent participating in the programme, when this is not part of normal work duties, as set out by your employer organisation or company. Grants do not cover time spent planning and development of engagement activity, which is considered part of your responsibilities as a researcher.
  • NERC will also cover reasonable costs where relevant, according to the UKRI Travel and Subsistence policy.

Find out more

Click to find out about the Impact Development Programme.

How to apply

The Impact Development Programme cohort will be selected by NERC, following an application process. Please follow the link to complete your application.



NCCPE contact – stephanie.todd@uwe.ac.uk
NERC contact – hannah.king@nerc.ukri.org