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Birkbeck public engagement awards

The Birkbeck Public Engagement Awards recognise and celebrate researchers undertaking innovative and exemplary public engagement activities. In particular, we celebrate research that builds on Birkbeck's tradition of socially engaged research and the College's historical mission to engage with a wide and diverse range of people outside of academia.

How to apply

Applications for the 2020 Public Engagement Awards are closed.

Completed applications should be emailed to the . The deadline for 2020 applications was midnight on 23 February 2020.


  • 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. 


  • We will accept applications 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.
  • View the applications shortlisted in 2018
  • View the applications shortlisted in 2019.


  • 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 May 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.