Birkbeck public engagement awards

This year, Birkbeck is holding its inaugural Public Engagement Awards. Building on the College’s tradition of socially engaged research and its historical mission to engage with a wide and diverse range of people outside of academia, the Birkbeck Public Engagement Awards will recognise and celebrate those researchers who have undertaken innovative and exemplary public engagement activities.

Applications for the 2017-18 awards have now closed - winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday 19 March 2018Information about the 2018-19 awards will be announced in autumn 2018. 

If you have any questions about the Public Engagement Awards, please contact the Public Engagement Team for guidance

Birkbeck public engagement awards - aims 

  • The Birkbeck Public Engagement Awards aim to:
    • celebrate and make visible the diverse and wide range of public engagement activities at Birkbeck 
    • recognise and reward those researchers who have undertaken innovative and exemplary public engagement activities 
    • support the culture of public engagement at Birkbeck by bringing together researchers from across the College to celebrate existing work and inspire new connections. 

Award categories

  • Applications for the 2017-2018 awards have now closed, but applications were accepted in the following categories: 
    • Early Career Award for public engagement work undertaken by doctoral students or early career researchers (ie postdocs in their first two years in post)
    • Communicating Research for excellence in communicating research projects and ideas through stimulating or innovative activities 
    • Collaboration for engagement based on an active collaboration and a two-way relationship with an external partner(s) 
    • Engaged Practice for research that has participation and involvement of publics as a core approach to the creation of research 
    • Transforming Culture or Public Life for research engagement activities that aim to stimulate change within our culture and society. 


  • What constitutes the ‘first two years in post’ for post-doctoral applicants? 
    • To be eligible for the PhD/Early Career Award, you must be a current PhD researcher or have been in a research post for no more than two years after the completion of your PhD. 
    • This category is aimed at those with a burgeoning research career; applicants with longer post-doctoral research experience are therefore encouraged to apply to one of the other categories. 
  • Can you clarify the two-year eligibility rule? 
    • Applications will be accepted for public engagement projects that are current and ongoing or that have been completed within the last two years (ie since January 2016). 
    • This is distinct from the larger research projects that may have informed your public engagement project. Your research projects could have been completed more than two years ago; it is the public engagement project itself which must fall within the two-year scope. 
  • What if my public engagement activities fall into more than one category?
    • Some projects may fit the remit of more than one category. If this is the case and you would like advice on the most suitable category for your application, please feel free to .
    • Otherwise, please choose the category you feel is the best fit and, if the awarding committee believes your project will fare better in a different category, we will contact you about switching it. 
  • Are there types of projects or work you won’t accept?
    • While we would like to encourage applications that reflect the broad range of public engagement activity that occurs at Birkbeck, there are a few types of work we are unable to accept:
      • widening participation initiatives or work that is directly intended to recruit students to Birkbeck 
      • ‘publicly available’ activities, such as conferences, talks or lectures, which are open to the public but primarily for academics. This is distinct from public events that have been designed for a particular non-academic audience, rather than simply opened up to them 
      • publicity activities that are centred around public promotion of academic research, for example, through public lectures, launch event or media work that specifically and only aims to promote a monograph, journal article or research finding. 
    • Public engagement for the purposes of these awards is characterised by being informed by Birkbeck research.
  • Why do you ask for a lead applicant? How can I acknowledge the contribution of other team members or collaborators?
    • We ask you to identify a lead applicant in order to simplify the application process and our communications with you.
    • We would, however, encourage you to include details of your fellow Birkbeck team members and any external collaborators or public contributors where applicable. Space for this has been included on the application form. 
  • Why do you use the term ‘publics’?
    • We use the term ‘publics’ to communicate that there is not one homogenous, non-academic ‘general public’. There are diverse publics and we’d like to encourage applicants to think more specifically about the people they have engaged with.