Call for proposals now opens Monday 24th April. Apply for up to £1,000 to deliver your event and take part in a national festival of public engagement with research
Update on delaying the application process
The ESRC have announced that, starting this year, institutions planning to hold events as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science need either to hold an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) or partner with another institution that holds an IAA. As BU doesn’t hold one, we are looking to establish a partnership with another institution. We have decided to delay the call for proposals while we set this up and to be clear on how the partnership might influence our application process and priorities, if at all. We plan to open the call for proposals on Monday 24th April.
What is the ESRC Festival of Social Science?
The ESRC Festival of Social Science is an annual, UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences, usually taking place during November. BU have been involved in the festival for over a decade, running our own internal selection process and delivering up to ten activities per year. The festival aims to encourage, support and create opportunities for social science researchers to engage with non-academic audiences.
Why should I take part?
The festival is a prestigious initiative by a major research funder, and BU’s continued involvement is justified by the quality of our events and activities. Being part of this festival is an achievement worth citing and celebrating.
It is an excellent opportunity to engage people outside of academia with your research and with the benefit of co-ordinated support and promotion from RDS and the ESRC.
You can apply for up to £1,000 to deliver your project.
What if I’ve never done any public engagement before?
Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is the ideal place. You’ll have access to comprehensive support, advice and training throughout. If you’re unsure, seek out a more experienced colleague to collaborate with.
Can I apply if I’m not a social scientist?
The ESRC says that events must “feature social science (ideally with a social scientist involved in the event)”. If this doesn’t clearly apply to you, consider these options;
- Does your research have clear implications for society that could be explored from a social science perspective?
- Could you collaborate with a social scientist, combining your resources and creativity to explore the impact of your research? If you’re looking for a collaborator, the Research Blog or BU website are great places to start or contact us for help.
What will I be expected to do?
- Familiarise yourself with best practice for public engagement with research. Whether you’re new to this or experienced, there’s always room to improve
- Apply to our internal panel
- If successful, attend an initial training session
- Plan, deliver and evaluate your activity or event, working with the public engagement team to shape your project into an impactful, professional and fascinating experience
What support will I get?
Being part of this festival means a higher level of support and reach than we are normally able to provide.
Before applying, you’ll have access to:
- A dedicated session of the Public Engagement with Research (PER) Network, featuring previous event holders
- Bookable one-on-one advice slots with BU’s Engagement Officer
- Detailed applicant guidance to help you apply
When your application is successful, you’ll get:
- Continuing advice and support from BU’s public engagement team on all areas of planning, promoting delivering, evaluating your activity.
- The promotional boost from being part of a huge national festival.
We are dedicating our next meeting of the Public Engagement with Research Network on Wednesday 29 March to helping you apply for the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2023. In this session we’ll explain more about the festival and how to apply. We’ll hear from Dr Maxine Gee and Dr Rachel Moseley who have previously held events and activities as part of the festival. They will share their experiences and advice. More details about this session can be found here, or you can join the Public Engagement Network to stay up to date
- Explore previous events from BU and examples from around the country
- Start brushing up on how to make public engagement work for you. A great place to start is BU’s own video guide to getting started in public engagement with research (Brightspace). You can also browse guidance and case studies from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)
- Book an advice slot – once available
In the coming weeks we’ll provide more information about applying to the ESRC Festival of Social Science. In the meantime, if you have a question please email the team.