Beacons for Public Engagement

Wednesday night, 30 January, saw the launch of six ‘Beacons of Public Engagement’, a scheme to encourage researchers and the public towards greater interaction and understanding. The £9.2M initiative, funded by the UK higher education research councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, is one of the biggest of its kind ever launched in the UK. Through a series of collaborative initiatives, researchers will be encouraged to see the social implications of their research, to reach out to the public to communicate their work and make their research more accessible to external audiences.

Writing in the Times Higher yesterday, Jack Stilgoe, a senior reseacher at the think tank DEMOS, called for those scientists who do take the time to enage with the public, to be rewarded for their efforts. Proposals for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the successor to the RAE, do not as they stand reward scientists’ activities in such areas, a situation which many scientific organisations, including the BES, would like to see altered.

Respond to the HEFCE consultation on the REF at by 14 February 2008.