Last month, I attended the Engage conference in Bristol.  Organised by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) in the UK, Engage brings together delegates interested in public engagement in Higher Education institutions. The 2016 conference theme was ‘inspiring innovation’. More than 280 delegates attended the two-day conference held from 29 to 30 November.

This year also hosted the ENGAGE awards, which showcased some of the really good practice examples from across the world. A particular favourite of mine in the finals was ‘The Heart and Lung Repair Shop’ which utilised empty retail units and transformed them into vibrant hubs for creative science engagement with community audiences by Imperial College London.

Part of my role as the Biomedical Research Centre’s Public and Community Engagement Manager is to develop our Public Engagement Strategy and make sure researchers are supported in engaging different audiences with their work. I do this by providing advice and consultancy on grant applications, planning delivery and evaluation.

I attended a really helpful workshop run by Chloe Sheppard at the Wellcome Trust on supporting Researcher engagement in biomedical research. This covered different elements of support such as:

  • Improving researcher training and core skills
  • Managing small funding pots for researchers to run their own activities
  • Providing us with the right information to guide researchers in writing effective grant applications and communicate the outcomes of their engagement.

BRC’s engagement vision as a whole aims to make our world-class research accessible to a range of audiences. I believe with the right support researchers should be thinking about engagement and incorporating into their research practice at an earlier stage to maximise opportunities to share their work and promote themselves and the BRC.

I am also involved in running the King’s Engaged Researcher Network, which provides a platform for provision of training, networking, opportunities and resources for researchers.

I would like to thank the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for their support in helping to attend the ENGAGE event.