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Public Engagement and URSS

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The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS) enables undergraduate students to carry out a summer research and/or public engagement project. It's a great opportunity to lead your own project. The URSS helps develop valuable transferable skills, try out real life research, enhance your CV and career prospects, as well as building your confidence.

The scheme is open to any UG student at Warwick on a full-time or part-time course, in any year including first and final year students. Exchange students are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must get the support of a supervisor and can apply for a URSS bursary (up to £1,500) to undertake a research or public engagement project, either in the UK or abroad, for between 6-10 weeks. You can apply to do more than one URSS project in your time at Warwick, but can only apply for the bursary funding once.

There are two types of projects you can apply to undertake:

Regardless of which of the following pathways you choose the application should be completed in conjunction with your supervisor by Sunday 13 February 2022 at 11:59pm.

Research Projects

You will apply to run a research project, but this must include some element of public engagement. Your public engagement can happen alongside your project, or take place in the Autumn term if you'd like to complete it after your research project has generated results. We would envisage this being a smaller activity than those running stand alone public engagement projects. In addition to the £1,500 bursary you can also apply for £200 to carry out the public engagement aspect of your project.

Apply using the URSS form

Public Engagement Projects

You would apply to run a public engagement project. This could be a collaborative project with a community partner or an academic in your department, or your own project. You still need to find a supervisor to support you. The project would need to take place over the summer and should be the equivalent workload of undertaking a research project.

Apply using the Public Engagement form

Support for developing your research project/ general URSS queries

If you have a question about your research project, or generally about how URSS works, then please contact the URSS team directly at urss@warwick.ac.uk. The information below is relevant to the public engagement section of your application.

What is public engagement?

Public engagement is about talking to people outside of the university about the work that goes on here. That could be something you've learnt on your course, or a piece of research you or someone in your department is working on or has already produced. The idea is to have a two way discussion with the people you choose to engage with, so you make space not only to tell them about the work you're an expert in - but also to give them a platform to share their responses, thoughts and perspectives.

This short video explains a bit more about what public engagement is and the role of WIE.

What would a research project public engagement element look like?

This depends on the research you're doing! It may be a blog post (or a series) about the research. It could be a set of social media posts (e.g. twitter, instagram, tiktok) about your subject, presented in a way that encourages responses. It could be a game, or an event for schools, or a youtube video, or a collaboration with a community group, or something else. The only limit is your creativity!

Engagement and ICUR

One option for your public engagement activity could be to run an engagement activity as part of ICUR (The International Conference of Undergraduate Research), hosted at Warwick as part of Welcome Week. WIE will be developing a public facing event as part of the conference which parents, friends, and the public will all be able to come to. You'll be able to apply to run your public engagement activity (this could be a short talk or interactive activity) as part of this event. If you'd like to use this as part of your engagement plans then mention your intention as part of your URSS application. The WIE team will contact you with information about how you can sign up and help you with developing your activity if your application to URSS in sucessful.

Support for developing your public engagement plans

WIE UG Skills Festival

The skills festival is home to lots of different resources and guides to help you come up with a public engagement idea and pull it off effectively. For example, if you'd like more information about what public engagement is, take a look at the "What is engagement?" tent. You can access practical guides such as how to make a podcast, or engage using social media in the "Digital Engagement Skills" tent. Visit the "Practical Engagement Skills" area for advice on things like Storytelling and Presenting Data to non expert audiences.

One of the crucial elements of your application is how you're going to evaluate your public engagement. The "Evaluation" tent is home to a step by step guide to planning evaluation. There are lots of resources to discover so do spend some time exploring the Skills Festival before planning your engagement activity.

Public Engagement Planning and Support Sessions

Come along to our sessions designed to give you more of an insight into how to plan a high quality public engagement project - from finding an audience to planning your evaluation. There will also be time dedicated to answering your questions and giving advice on individual activities. Please follow the links below to book your place at the sessions. There will be a mixture of face to face and online sessions.

Further support

If you have a question that can't wait until the support sessions, or you're a supervisor looking for advice, please contact wie@warwick.ac.uk. The team runs a general public engagement drop in session each week which you can book onto.