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Warwick chosen to receive funding to involve public in research

The University of Warwick has been chosen to receive funding to help the public become more involved and informed in research.

The University will be receiving the award from Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of its Public Engagement with Research Catalyst Seed Fund (CSF). It is designed to ensure that engaging the public becomes an integral part of the research process.

Professor Pam Thomas in Warwick’s Department of Physics will be coordinating the initiative. She said: “We are delighted to be part of this national project to embed public engagement in research culture.

“Engaging the public is vital to the research process and enhances the quality of the research and its societal significance.”

The total amount for the year will be £115,000 made up of RCUK and university matched funding including a sum drawn from Warwick’s Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) allocation for the coming year.

Nine other awards are being made to other universities for public engagement over the next 12 months. Activity at Warwick began at the start of September.

The RCUK is issuing the funding to build on the successes and momentum generated by previous projects the Catalyst funding and the Beacons for Public Engagement initiative. The funding will help to catalyse change by ensuring that engaging the public becomes an integral part of the research process. Specifically, the CSF will provide flexible funding directly to universities to help create a culture where excellent public engagement with research is better embedded within the institution and appropriately included within its policies, procedures and practices.

Professor John Womersley, RCUK’s Champion for Public Engagement with Research and Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said: “Public engagement is an integral part of research and improves both its quality and impact. We know that researchers are more likely to participate in public engagement if they have the support of their institution. This Catalyst Seed Funding will support infrastructure and cultural change within the funded universities and help researchers to engage with schools and the wider community.”

15 September 2015

Notes to Editor

1. Further information is available at: www.rcuk.ac.uk/pe/embedding/

2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at www.rcuk.ac.uk.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

• Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) - www.ahrc.ac.uk

• Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - www.bbsrc.ac.uk

• Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) - www.esrc.ac.uk

• Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - www.epsrc.ac.uk

• Medical Research Council (MRC) - www.mrc.ac.uk

• Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) - www.nerc.ac.uk

• Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) - www.stfc.ac.uk

pam thomas


For further details please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick 07824 540863 or N.Jones.1@warwick.ac.uk