Public Engagement Fund

This scheme provides between £500 and £10,000 for Royal Society Research Fellows to create and lead innovative public engagement projects to engage audiences with their exciting research.

Status: Closed

What is public engagement?

What is the Public Engagement Fund?

Who is eligible?

Application Support

Application Process

Working with schools and students

What is public engagement?

Public engagement can have a variety of interpretations, but the definition developed by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) is the most widely accepted.

In their definition, public engagement "describes the many ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.”

What is the Public Engagement Fund?

The scheme is designed to support Society-funded scientists to undertake public engagement projects based on their research, and to increase the knowledge, skills and confidence of researchers.

Funding is available for any public engagement activity designed for a non-scientific, public audience that meets the application criteria. Projects should have clear aims, target specific audiences and provide opportunity for open dialogue and two-way communication between scientific researchers and the project’s target audience.

The minimum amount you can request for this scheme is £500 and the maximum amount is £10,000 over two years. Up to £5,000 can be requested for a one-year project. The total amount of funding available for this round is £60,000.

All funded projects should:

  • Be based on Royal Society-funded research
  • Involve scientists interacting with a public group outside your institution
  • Target specific audiences based on the aims and rationale of the project
  • Encourage open discussion between scientific researchers and your project’s target audience
  • Aim to produce benefits for the public, the researcher and any partners or collaborators

We are particularly interested in projects that: 

  • Reach people that are currently underrepresented in the Society’s public engagement work, including those without a science degree, those from geographically remote locations and those from culturally and demographically diverse backgrounds, including BAME and low-income backgrounds
  • Encourage collaboration between science and the arts 
  • Enable possibilities for digital engagement, either as a main feature or as part of a contingency plan

Whilst we welcome applications working with children and school groups, we would be particularly interested in projects that target wider age groups and demographics and collaborate with local creatives and organisations such as artists, writers, libraries and community organisations.   

If you have an enquiry, or would like advice on your application, please contact the Public Engagement team.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

The applicant must be a current Royal Society University Research Fellow or Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow who completed the first year of their fellowship on or before 31 October 2023. 

Application Process

The Public Engagement Fund application process is completed through Flexi-Grant®, an online system used to administer all Royal Society grants.

Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed by a judging panel made up of Fellows, Research Fellows, educators and public engagement professionals. 

We will inform you of the outcome of your application in February 2024. 

Interested in working with schools and students?

Our Partnership Grants scheme offers up to £3,000 to UK schools or colleges to run an investigative research project in partnership with a STEM professional. 

If you want to deliver a better understanding of the latest developments in STEM and improve the perceptions of your field visit our Partnership Grants pages to find out more.

Quick comparison

Public Engagement Fund Partnership Grants
Funding available Up to £10,000 Up to £3,000
Grant holder Royal Society Research Fellow School (working with STEM partner)
Aims Build capacity for your public engagement work, learn new skills and reach new audiences Exposing students to real research and developing their understanding of the importance of STEM to everyday life.
Participants Any chosen target audience  5 - 18 year-old students
Format Any chosen format Investigative research project
Length Up to two years Typically one academic year