Quick Start Guide to Public Engagement

Our University has a long and proud history of communicating our research.  Our discoveries have impacted on society because we talked about them. With increasing open access, crowdfunding of research, and citizen science projects, there is a growing requirement for researchers to engage with public audiences.

The good news is that members of the public are greatly interested in the facts and understanding that science can offer. They are keen to hear directly from the researchers involved and engagement can bring real benefits to you and your research.

This quick guide highlights the steps you can take to start your own public engagement journey.

What is Public Engagement? Why is it important?

Introduction to Public Engagement with Research – MVLS Moodle

This short self-guided training moodle is the perfect introduction for those new to public engagement.

Learning Outcomes 

By completing this moodle you will be able to:  

  • Define public engagement as used by MVLS and the University of Glasgow  
  • Understand the background to public engagement as it applies to research 
  • Learn of current public attitudes to science and technology
  • Identify the key benefits of public engagement with research
  • Recognise the main ways that researchers can engage the public
  • Create your own Public Engagement with Research Action Plan

Create a plan for your engagement

Before embarking upon public events or developing activities you need to be clear about what you want to achieve. It can be helpful to understand public attitdues to your research topic and you should also review your own skills and experience to consider what training and support mighty be appropriate. Details to help you complete your plan are within the Introduction to Public Engagement with Research – MVLS Moodle.

Once complete the plan should be shared and discussed with the MVLS Engagement team or your local engagement officer and together you can start working on your engagement goals. 

Need help? Contact the MVLS Engagement Team or look for one of our Action Plan workshops.

As part of this you may wish to create or review your Research Impact Plan.  This will allow you to consider how public engagement can best support your research impact ambitions. 

Need Help? Visit MVLS Research Impact Support or contact the MVLS Research Impact Support Team

UofG MOOC Research Impact: Making a Difference Hosted by FutureLearn this free course that will introduce you to research impact and help you develop your Impact Plan. 

Smarten up your digital research profile

When you start engaging you want people to be able to find you and your work easily.  

Consider what you want people to know about you and ensure your research messages are clear and consistent.  

Are you visible in the correct places online and is all your content professionally presented? 

This is the perfect time to create or refresh your public research profile.

Need help?  Developing your Digital Footprint

New to public engagement?

If you are new to the world of public engagement consider spending some time to build your communication skills and gain some engagement experience.

Our top tips:

  • Visit public engagement activities.  Attend engagement events and consider what it is like as a member of the audience. Learn what is involved in creating engaging activities. While many traditional face to face opportunities have changed - in some ways it is now easier to find an audience and practise your communication skills. Many of our online activities routinely draw worldwide audiences.

See Engagement Opportunities or follow us on @UofGMVLSEngage or MVLS Engage Yammer group to find MVLS staff in action

  • Consider becoming a STEM Ambassador.  As a volunteer you will bring STEM subjects to life by engaging with young people in and out of the classroom. In return you will receive engagement training, develop communication skills and be able to contribute to your community.

STEM Ambassadors in Scotland Hub


 Can’t find what you are looking for contact mvls-engage@glasgow.ac.uk 



Have some experiences and looking for more engagement training and ideas?

Our training opportunities are designed to assist staff and students whatever the stage of their public engagement journey including those looking to develop a dialogue, make collaborative decisions and work with external groups.

We can offer internal and external training opportunities, workshops, and a range of resources.  

Can’t find what you are looking?  Contact mvls-engage@glasgow.ac.uk 

Join our public engagement community at Glasgow, participate in discussions and build your networks. 


    This is a forum for staff and students interested in public and community engagement to come together, share ideas, network, and build a community. Learn more through our events, podcasts and blog posts. 

Are you recording your engagement activity?

Already doing public engagement  -  make sure you record activity on the Knowledge Exchange and Impact Repository 

The new 'Knowledge Exchange and Impact' function, allows staff, and soon PGRs, to record and document non-academic collaborations, consultations, public or community engagement, knowledge exchange or impact-generating activity and any other external engagement related to or stemming from research. 

This will help you track externally-facing engagement activities, contacts/collaborators and any documentation or information that is created by these activities.  It will also allow you to automatically highlight your public engagement on you UofG profile page under the 'External engagement' tab.