Public Engagement with Research

at the University of Lincoln

The University of Lincoln is a dynamic, outward-looking institution conducting purposeful research at scales from local to global. Committed to service and proud of our status as a signatory of the UKRI Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research and the NCCPE manifesto for Public Engagement, we see sharing discovery and learning with wider society as central to our mission. As an institution established by our regional community through public subscription and a signatory of the Civic University Agreement, we recognise our particular responsibility to our local and regional communities.

What are our aims?

1. To benefit wider society

We recognise that society benefits in many ways from public engagement with research, and so aim to maximise the range and scope of our engagement and its reach to our civic audiences in our city and region as well as others beyond; supporting communities, education, economic development, culture, heritage, health, wellbeing and citizenship. Beneficiaries will include individuals, communities, community groups, local societies, special interest groups, support groups, charities and other third sector organisations, schools and colleges, businesses, institutions and many more. We aim to engage wider society with our research in ways which:

  • Exchange knowledge – sharing knowledge, ideas and understanding of research processes and outcomes; democratising the research experience through co-design, co-production and participation.
  • Enhance well-being – offering new life experiences; changing perspectives; influencing behaviour.
  • Build social capital – extending networks; creating new networks; heightening appetite for learning.
  • Build personal resilience / social justice – boosting self-esteem; extending network; diversifying life experience; widening horizons; achieving personal goals.
  • Build economic capacity / resilience – instilling new skills; raising aspirations; boosting confidence; offering volunteering opportunities.
  • Support local place-making – increasing availability of informal learning opportunities; diversifying leisure opportunities; changing perceptions of place; building better places.
  • Underpin civil society – developing discussion skills; extending debating experience; enabling informed decision-making and democratic participation.

2. To benefit researchers (including students as researchers) and research

We recognise that people within the university who are able to offer and/or benefit from delivering or supporting public engagement include research staff and students, at all stages of their careers, and in all disciplines, as well as staff providing professional services across the university. We aim for our public engagement to benefit research and researchers by:

  • Improving quality and range of research impact, increasing number and quality of REF impact case studies
  • Increasing public awareness of research processes and outcomes and support for research activity
  • Engaging new research partners – including participants and collaborators beyond the university diversifying
  • Diversifying academic perspectives – exploring their work with different audiences, understanding its impact, understanding their audiences
  • Developing transferable skills in researchers – such as communication, project management, partnerships
  • Building self-esteem as researchers’ work is more widely recognised and appreciated
  • Boosting life/work satisfaction from fulfilling moral obligations to share research with wider publics.

3. To benefit the University

We recognise that engaging wider society effectively with the aims, processes and outcomes of research benefits universities in many ways. We aim for our public engagement to benefit the university by:

  • Increasing the actual and perceived relevance and benefit of our purposeful research to wider society,
  • Extending research networks and attracting and engaging new partners,
  • Enriching and diversifying student learning, skills development and work/volunteering experience,
  • Increasing the number and diversity of people connected to the university,
  • Helping fulfil the university’s moral duty as a civic institution to support its region,
  • Increasing transparency and accountability by increasing public understanding of university business,
  • Enhancing our reputation as a university innovatively effective in engaging beneficially with wider society.

Taken from the University of Lincoln Manifesto for Public Engagement with Research (in draft)

 Why has the University of Lincoln signed the NCCPE manifesto for public engagement? 

“Public engagement is vital to universities today in order to maximise the value of the work we do to wider society. The University of Lincoln has a proud tradition of engaging with wider publics locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, and as our research gains in strength and reach so does our public engagement. We are committed to exploring new ways to serve society through integrating research, teaching and knowledge exchange to ensure that diverse publics are better able to access, explore, appreciate and get involved with university activity in all its diverse forms to reap the many benefits this offers.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln