The relationship between science and society is under review; whereas the interaction was often considered to be a one way street where researchers disseminate knowledge and implement change. It is now more encouraged to have a continuous two way conversation between researchers and societal stakeholders. The underlying principle is that continuous engagement can help increase accountability, transparency and trust while also helping researchers improve responses to social needs on a local, national, or global level.
Recent efforts by funding organisations, higher education institutions, and research academies to integrate public engagement throughout the research process aim to make research more relevant, impactful and trusted. The idea is that societal stakeholders should be involved in the design, conduct, and dissemination of research. In several countries such as the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg, national funders are promoting collaboration with non-academic partners and communities to encourage researchers to develop ideas with their strategic partners early on and ensure that research and innovation is responsive to the knowledge priorities and value of society. Their mission is also to improve research quality, generate fresh insights into the research challenges, and improve trust between research institutions and society. Public engagement as a route to societal impact raises challenges for funders, research enablers, and senior managers at higher education institutes or research academies. Examples of such questions are:
- How to best incentivise and support researchers?;
- What is the best way to measure impact and public engagement?;
- How to ensure public engagement is integrated throughout the whole research process?
In trying to bring public engagement and societal impact closer, AESIS is organising the Public Engagement and Societal Impact course. Through this course, we aim to bring together public engagement officers, impact evaluators, institutional leaders and the wider research community to discuss how to help researchers embed public engagement into research strategies and learn tools and strategies to monitor, evaluate and evidence and impact. Participants will be introduced to a range of methods to engage with the public, many evaluative techniques and strategies and tools that generate societal impact. By the end of the four half-day course, participants will be able to apply the learnings of the workshop to real life situation through exercises and presentations.
Public Engagement Officers;
Higher Education Leaders & Funders;
Impact evaluators at research institutions;
University & Research Support Staff