UCL has been recognised as one of six Beacons for Public Engagement in the UK, with HEFCE, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust providing funding to establish a Public Engagement Unit. The unit works to support activities that contribute to a culture of two-way conversations between university staff and groups outside the university. Beacon funding allows UCL to experiment with new types of public engagement work, and new audiences, in the hope of learning lessons that can be shared across the higher education sector.

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Bright Club participant

UCL’s public engagement work recognises that there are a range of ways to connect groups outside the university with our research, each of which is appropriate for different audiences and in different situations. The Public Engagement Unit supports these endeavours through a mixture of grant-making, mentoring, training and advice. UCL are supporting the Riverpedia project through an Innovation Seed fund bursary. Another example of the excellent and innovative work run by the UCL Public Engagement Unit is Bright Club. A series of events organised by the PEU, in collaboration with One Green Firework Productions, Bright Club aims to create opportunities for UCL staff to engage with a new audience, primarily of 20–40 year olds, who have no existing relationship with academia. Participants receive training from comedians, and have usually never done anything like this before. For more information on Bright Club, you can join their Facebook group, or email the Public Engagement Unit

UCL is involved in a great range of public engagement activities and many of our staff and students are passionate about this work. UCL’s historic central London campus is open to the public, and each year UCL’s Bloomsbury Theatre and award-winning museums attract over 110,000 members of the public. Weekly public events are held across campus, discussing UCL research across sciences, arts, humanities and law. Annual UCL graduate shows in fine art and in architecture attract thousands of visitors per year.

Dr Hilary Jackson, UCL’s Deputy Public Engagement Coordinator

To find out more, please visit the Public Engagement Unit website