Research staff and public engagement: a UK study

Author(s)
Sarah R. Davies
Abstract

Public engagement plays an important role in the contemporary UK academy, and is promoted through initiatives such as Beacons of Public Engagement and research grant ‘Pathways to Impact’. Relatively little is known, however, about academic experiences of such engagement activities. This study focuses on one staff group, contract researchers, to explore the perceived challenges and opportunities of public engagement. Qualitative and quantitative data—from a web-based survey and three focus groups—are used to show that, while engagement activities are often seen as rewarding, the challenges involved in participating in them are profound. While researchers report practical needs, such as for logistical support or communication training, key barriers relate to the conditions of contract research more generally, and specifically to job insecurity, transiency, and lack of autonomy.

Organisation(s)
Department of Science and Technology Studies
Journal
Higher Education: the international journal of higher education and educational planning
Volume
66
Pages
725-739
No. of pages
15
ISSN
0018-1560
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9631-y
Publication date
2013
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
509017 Social studies of science
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/research-staff-and-public-engagement-a-uk-study(201bdba3-af00-4533-84d6-de714d00dcd5).html