There is often confusion as to what public engagement is, as opposed to outreach, Impact or talking to the press. This is unsuprising as there is overlap and it's a bit of a grey area! Typically however this is how we define the four at Warwick.
REF impact is broader than just public engagement, it can be achieved through lots of different pathways, one of which might be public engagement.
Outreach is typically about speaking to school children to inspire them. We would class this as public engagement only if you were specifically talking about your own research.
Talking to the media
Typically this is a one way conversation through the media, it's fantastic for reaching lots of people, but typically not used for two-way interaction, however there are ways of having dialogue around media coverage which you could class as public engagement (e.g. through social media).
Examples could include speaking at science festivals, ideas cafes, Fame Lab, Twitter, television shows, radio/ podcasts, online discussion forums, exhibitions, and collaborative events or activities, citizen science, co-produced research working together.
The public engagement triangle is a model that outlines the different methods of public engagement under three key headings. Transmit, Receive and Collaborate.
The purpose of the traingle is to show that all three have value, and your work will probably fall somewhere in the middle of the three. Exactly where is going to be defined by the purpose of your public engagement and your research area.
Further reading on this topic
You may also find our training course, "A beginners' guide to public engagement" useful
Public engagement toolkits
- What is public engagement?
- Advice for running events
- Giving great public engagement presentations
- Ethics and public engagement
- Promoting events
- Working in the community
- National coordinating centre for public engagement (NCCPE)
- Wellcome public engagement support
- UKRI (formerly RCUK)