Communicating your research
Your public engagement responsibilities
NERC is committed to communicating its work as widely as possible, to inform and enthuse non-scientific audiences about environmental science and to demonstrate the economic and societal benefits that science brings.
Similarly we expect our researchers to consider all the potential impacts of their work, to exploit their results as appropriate to achieve that impact, and to communicate their work outside the scientific community.
Engaging the public with your research can improve the quality and impact of your work, raise your profile and develop your skills. It also enables members of the public to act as informed citizens and can inspire the next generation of researchers.
Public engagement is an important part of your responsibilities as a recipient of public funding and you should plan it into your research at the outset - it is not a 'nice to have' or something you tack onto the end of your research as an afterthought. Engagement activities can take place at any stage, or throughout your work: they can help shape your research question, be part of your research process, and/or happen at the end of the grant to feedback on the findings and potentially influence future research.
All researchers are required to submit a pathways to impact plan with their grant application. Funds are available to support activities identified in the plan which can help achieve societal and economic impacts; project-specific public engagement activities, which are relevant and appropriate to your proposed research, can be included as ways of generating impact in your Pathways to Impact plan.
There are many activities you can take part in or run, depending on the nature of your work and what you feel most comfortable with. This can be anything from writing a magazine article, talking to local school pupils, running hands-on activities at a science festival, recording a podcast or contributing to a TV programme.
You should also consider more formal interaction and public dialogue. This gives you a chance to gauge the opinions of specific groups of people, for example those for whom your research outputs might be especially relevant, or talk to a wider cross-section to understand broader public attitudes, hopes or concerns for your area of research.
There are a number of resources available to provide ideas and support for your activities.