Research- Collaboration

Public Engagement with Research

People are at the core of Oxford’s Social Sciences research.

Public Engagement with Research (PER) describes the huge variety of ways by which researchers can share their work with the public, bringing mutual benefit to both sides.

‘Public engagement is a mind-set that acknowledges that the public have a genuine stake in the work of universities – and wisdom and sensitivities that must be listened to and acknowledged.’ (NCCPE)


Public engagement can take many forms: outreach, collaborative research, citizen science, participatory arts, lifelong learning, community engagement, and engagement with NGOs, or other public-focused organisations.

Benefits of doing PER (for researchers) might include learning, developing new skills, gaining new insights or ideas, developing better research, raising aspiration, or being inspired.

The Social Sciences Division’s Research, Impact and Engagement (RIE) Team can provide advice, training, funding support, and examples of how to design, deliver and evaluate PER projects effectively and maximise the benefits for both the public and for researchers.

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement with Research (NCCPE)

This site is the national portal for PER. It has tips and guidance for every step of the way, and some great toolkits to help you put things into practice effectively.

Oxford University PER pages

Support on planning, delivering, and evaluating public engagement with research, as well as: an e-mail newsletter, PER Seed Funds for small researcher led projects, a departmental PER Seed Fund for those wanting to develop the capacity and culture for PER in their department, a PER Facilitators Network as a community of practice for those involved in supporting PER, a biennial conference and training opportunities.

The central PER team also run the VC’s Public Engagement with Research Awards which take place every two years.

In 2015, the Social Sciences Division won the Building Capacity Award at the inaugural VC’s Public Engagement with Research Awards at Oxford. This was for the Social Animals Live Friday at the Ashmolean Museum. Check out the video of the event here.

Explore short films showcasing excellent examples of Public Engagement with Research (PER) activities across the Social Sciences and the University of Oxford which inform, inspire, consult and collaborate with the public.

Explore the Public Engagement with Research (PER) films

Who can help me?

We work collaboratively with colleagues across Oxford’s Research Services, Academic Divisions, as well as the Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), to ensure that Social Sciences researchers have as many opportunities as possible to develop their public engagement skills and experience.

For a first port of call, contact your departmental Research Impact Facilitator who will be able to advise you further on the best next steps for your PER ideas:

Business Engagement with Research

What is Business Engagement?

Business engagement and Partnerships (BEP) describes the development of mutually-beneficial partnerships between academic researchers and industry with the aim of addressing real-world challenges.

Business engagement can take many different forms, including undertaking an industry placement or internship; conducting a research project to address specific industry challenges; testing and analysing business partners’ existing methods; and securing an industrial partner’s support in a research grant bid.

What are the benefits of Business Engagement?

Developing these strategic business partnerships and strengthening academic-industry links can present researchers with a host of benefits. Collaborations with business partners can present opportunities to:

  • Secure alternative sources of funding for research
  • Understand the challenges of industry partners to which you can bring cutting-edge research and expertise
  • Access rich, large-scale, real-world datasets
  • Share expert knowledge and relevant insights to help businesses understand complex challenges
  • Stimulate exciting new areas of research
  • Develop valuable professional skills in relationship-management, stakeholder engagement, communications, and leadership
  • Expand and diversify professional networks
  • Raise the profile of your research
  • Change the way business leaders think, invest, and act
  • Influence policy agendas relating to your field
  • Deliver real-world impact to the mutual benefit of researcher, industry, and society as a whole

Funding and Development Opportunities

Business Engagement Seed Fund

This scheme is a really flexible fund, designed for those who are starting to think about collaborating with businesses. Small amounts of funding (up to £2,500, but if you need more please speak to us) are available to support colleagues to build mutually beneficial partnerships with external stakeholders (such as businesses, industry bodies, and not-for-profit organisations) in meaningful and productive two-way discussions. For example, it could fund some crucial preparatory work, facilitate discussions and meetings, support development of collaborative projects, or pilot a new idea. Funding covers direct costs and can typically include RA time, travel and subsistence, costs for online activity, external consultancy (e.g. for IT, comms, design etc.). These grants are intended as a first step in developing new collaborations that will, in turn, open up opportunities for new projects.  

Deadline: look out for a new call opening in autumn 2021

Business Engagement Seed Fund guidance and how to apply

Social Science Innovation Fellowships

New in 2020/21, the Innovation Fellowship Programme is a first of its kind opportunity to encourage innovation across Social Science at the University of Oxford in the areas of research commercialisation, business engagement and entrepreneurship. The aim is to support academic-led culture change, with Innovation Fellows acting as advocates for innovation, helping to develop an inclusive, supportive culture of innovation among social sciences researchers. 

Deadline: look out for more information in autumn 2021

Social Science Innovation Fellowships guidance and how to apply


The IAA 2 is organised as a stage-gated programme. Within this programme there are four Stages at which awards are offered, providing for knowledge exchange activities at different levels of development.

Projects supported by the IAA might start at a small scale, or at a very early point, for example, funding for initial conversations with partners. Award Stages 1-4 will support the project as it grows, through piloting to carrying out a fully developed impact project (if agreed outcomes are well met and appropriate continuation activity is planned, as judged by the IAA Review Panel). However, projects may come to the fund at any point in their development and enter the programme at any Stage.

Application deadline: See full guidance at the link below

More information about the ESRC IAA 


Who can help me?

We work collaboratively with colleagues across the University, including the Industrial Research Partnerships team (MPLS) and Business Development and Partnering (MedSci) teams, to ensure that Social Sciences researchers have as many opportunities as possible for business engagement and partnerships.

As a first port of call, contact a Research Impact Facilitator, who will be able to advise you further on the best next steps for your business engagement ideas:

Policy Engagement with Research

Oxford’s social scientists engage with policymakers locally, nationally and internationally, bringing fresh perspectives, understanding of what has worked elsewhere, and why. Through sharing their knowledge, expertise and insight, they contribute to outcomes that benefits research, policy and the wider world.

Policy engagement can take many forms, including: briefing of politicians, public or civil servants, responding to formal requests for evidence; collaboration in areas of specific research interest. It offers researchers opportunities to maximise the potential impact of their work – and, in the process, to deepen their understanding of its value and usefulness, and to promote it; to identify and shape further research needs and strengthen their case for funding.


The University’s Policy Engagement team provides advice, training, information about funding and about current opportunities, as well guidance on the planning and delivery of initiatives which look to maximise the benefits for both the policymakers and for researchers.

Who can help me?