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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R019657/1
Title: PEARL - Embedding Public Engagement for All in Research in Lincoln
Principal Investigator: Lewis, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Hodgson, Professor TL
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Vice Chancellors Office
Organisation: University of Lincoln
Scheme: RCUK PER Catalysts
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2019 Value (£): 108,439
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2017 SEE-PER Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The University of Lincoln's PEARL proposal seeks to enhance the institution's approach to supporting 'public engagement with research', responding to the 'enhance and embed' element of RCUK's 2017 SEE-PER call. 'Public engagement with research' goes beyond uni-directional dissemination to involve individuals and communities in two-way reflexive interactions intended to inform, inspire, involve, upskill and enrich. Public engagement is vitally important to universities as it increases the actual and perceived value of research to wider society, builds research capacity and broadens research horizons.

Research context

Public engagement with research (PER) is an emerging practice-centred field which over the last 15 years has advanced understanding the need for university researchers to engage with wider, stimulated increased PER activity, and advanced understanding of the impact of public engagement with research and the mechanisms which are most effective for nurturing quality, reach and impact in PER. Many UK universities have signed RCUK's Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)'s Manifesto for Public Engagement. However, PER is still not consistently valued by researchers or research managers and support provided for PER is not consistently high.


The University of Lincoln is a post-1992 university with a growing reputation for research and a strong commitment to, and track record in, public engagement. However, analysis with NCCPE's Edge Tool has shown that, lacking the resources of many larger and older institutions, support for PER at the university is not consistently of the highest standard. PEARL aims to improve this in order to benefit wider publics and researchers and act as a model for other HEIs. PEARL's objectives contribute to a wider Strategy for PER and focus on identified needs to strengthen the support for, and visibility of, PER.


PEARL will firstly carry out a series of surveys to provide detailed baseline data about attitudes to the provision of, and support for, PER at the university, and assess the full extent of PE currently carried out at the university. These data will then enable the impact of PEARL interventions to be evaluated, and will also identify what improvements in support for PER need to be introduced. Next, four training workshops will be developed in response to researchers' identified requirements, and a database of current PER activity (including researchers, subjects, publics) created. A dedicated PER microsite within the university website will be designed to act as a landing strip and portal for information and news about research and how wider publics can engage with it, including a blog, archives of previous PER activity and resources from workshops and research. Six new PER activities will test the new PER support systems and provide exemplars for others. New systems for rewarding PER will be devised and taken through necessary university committees, and formats for an Annual Conference and Annual Report on PER will be devised and inaugural event/issue run/published. The impact of all activity will be evaluated using a range of methods and evidence.


PEARL will benefit members of wider publics including adults, school pupils and community/voluntary sector groups, city councils, county councils, tourist bodies, local businesses, public engagement enablers, NCCPE, researchers, policy makers and universities. Benefits will include PER which is better designed, targeted and evaluated; wider publics with a more informed knowledge of the benefits of research and how to engage with it; new PER activity, improved understanding of the efficacy of different ways of supporting PER and improved understanding of the benefits of PER to wider publics. Impacts will reach beneficiaries in person, via conferences and academic publications and online.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.lincoln.ac.uk