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Public engagement strategy and funding

Strategy

We are focusing our public engagement activities around our strategic priorities:

  • Industrial biotechnology and bioenergy
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Bioscience for health

BBSRC supports collaborative and partnership activities in these areas.

Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel

Our science in society programme aims to enable informed debate and ensure broad input into our strategic decision-making. The programme is overseen by the Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel.

Objectives:

  • To enable and encourage researchers to be reflective about issues raised by their research, and to take part in dialogue with the public and other stakeholder groups
  • To conduct dialogue and consult with stakeholders to enable us to identify and respond to their needs, aspirations and concerns
  • To enhance public access to research and researchers; publicising research outcomes and their implications and relevance to society
  • To enthuse and inspire young people about science; empowering them as future citizens to participate in public dialogue about science, and to pursue science-based careers
  • To publish accurate, accessible and up-to-date information about our policies, and increase the transparency of our operations

Public engagement spend

We currently spend around £1M per year on public engagement activities.

Working with RCUK

Through RCUK, we support a number of national schemes to increase scientist-public interaction, including:

RCUK has committed £4M to set up Beacons for Public Engagement – university-based collaborative centres to help support, recognise, reward and build capacity for public engagement work. The Beacons was launched in January 2008.

Public engagement and science communication survey 2014

In the summer of 2014 we hosted a PhD student, Jenna Todd Jones, on a Professional Internship for PhD students to conduct a study of the public engagement and science communication activities of BBSRC funded researchers.

A report of this work can be found below. It explores how BBSRC funded researchers are approaching public engagement and science communication activities, where their successes are and what obstacles they are facing. This will help us to celebrate and share good practice in public engagement and science communication and to consider our role in alleviating the challenges that might be holding some researchers back. The report will be considered by the Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel.

Public engagement and science communication survey 2014 (PDF 613KB)

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Appendix 1 (PDF 3.10MB)

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Appendix 2 (PDF 648KB)

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Public engagement awards

In line with the RCUK Concordat for engaging the public with research (see external link), we are working to embed our public engagement within research grants and so the BBSRC small awards for public engagement are no longer be available.