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‌Public Engagement Case Studies

Here we feature case studies of recent public engagement projects to inspire you!


From Small Seeds

Early engagement with patients in health research (enabled by a small seed fund) informs and improves grant applications, by incorporating expertise from the population most impacted by future research

Case study From small seeds (PDF, 228kB)
Themes: Improving Funding Bids; Experience Informing Research; Patient & Public Involvement (PPI)
Thinking Science square logo

Thinking Science

Co-producing curriculum-linked resources builds partnerships, improves science education & makes lasting impact in schools.

Case study Thinking science (PDF, 127kB)
Themes: Co-production; Long-term Impact; Schools Engagement
Audience reactions at a performance of Invincible

Talking and Thinking

Dialogue with creative practitioners is a unique opportunity to reflect deeply about research ethics, impact and responsibility.

Case study Talking and thinking (PDF, 146kB) Themes: Ethics & Reflexivity; Artistic Collaboration; Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI)
Successful players of the Swarm Robotics Escape Room

The Robots are Swarming

PhD research is enhanced by engagement, which enriches thesis and is the basis for peer-reviewed publications.

Case study The robots are swarming (PDF, 203kB) Themes: Informed Research; Creative Engagement; Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI)
 A picture showing a researcher and two children looking at a plasma ball together at a FUTURES festival. Credit: Bhagesh Sachania Photography

Festival Fun for All

Festivals offer a first step to engagement, new ways to connect with audiences and opportunities to try out innovative ideas.

Case study Festival fun for all (PDF, 154kB) Themes: Developing Skills; Promoting Research; Audience Connections
  Maths made Art

Art collaborations open up complex mathematical research to diverse audiences, reveal cultural value and societal relevance.

Case study Maths made art (PDF, 155kB)

Themes: Cultural Impact; Creative Engagement; Equitable Partnerships

  Locked in a Room

Spending time locked in a room with a community group is an unusual, but rewarding, introduction to each other.

Case study Locked in a room (PDF, 156kB) Themes: Community Connections; Novel Engagement; Building Trust
  Walk and Talk

A walk in the woods builds mutual trust, provides research insights, and leads to a successful funding application.

Case study Walk and talk (PDF, 144kB) Themes: Community Connections; Lasting Relationships; Improving Research

We also like to highlight some current or recent projects which have good stories to tell.


Ugbaad AididIftiin is a research project in the School of Education which seeks to better understand the educational experiences and aspirations of youth in Bristol’s Somali community. It is funded by the University’s Temple Quarter Engagement fund. Led by Ugbaad Aidid and supported by Professor Robin Shields, the project uses a participatory approach that places Somali students at the centre of the project. This approach involves youth in both the generation and analysis of data, ensuring their voice in project findings. The project experienced considerable challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the team has been able to adapt the project plan and move many activities online. Highlights of the project to date include an online meeting with Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees and Ugbaad’s participation in a discussion through Wada Xaajood, an organization that promotes discussion on critical social and economic issues facing Somalis around the world. The project recently featured in the popular East Bristol community magazine Up Our Street. Read more in this blog post and follow the project Twitter.


FUTURES LogoFUTURES is Bristol and the South West's contribution to European Researchers’ Night - a massive Europe-wide public event dedicated to the promotion of science and research careers. You can read about the outcomes and impact for researchers and audiences in this short document: FUTURES2020 Impact Overview (PDF, 886kB). Researcher Richard White shares his experience of creating and delivering a personal short story about his work, as part of the FUTURES2020 Festival of Discovery: Telling Tales of Research (PDF, 238kB)

You can find out more about our current and past projects here.  We also have an archive of Public Engagement stories you can access here.