Heriot-Watt Engage promotes, stimulates and supports public engagement activities by the research community.
Heriot-Watt Engage was established in 2013 to build upon Heriot-Watt's partnership with the Beltane Network, one of six UK Beacons for Public Engagement funded by Research Councils UK, the Funding Councils and the Wellcome Trust. In 2015, the work of Heriot-Watt Engage was recognised by their award for Public Engagement and Advocacy from ARMA, the Association of Researcher Managers and Administrators.
In 2017, the University was awarded an RCUK/UKRI SEEPER grant to create, enrich and embed a culture where excellent public engagement with research (PER) is more effectively and strategically supported. Further information is available on the UKRI Website and by contacting HW Engage.
The HW Engage team can offer guidance on public engagement, from the development of proposals and programmes, to delivery and evaluation. There are a variety of skills that help make public engagement events successful, skills that are also important for research communication in general. Training currently available to Heriot-Watt academics, researchers and students can be found on PDMS.
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Meet the team
The Heriot-Watt Engage team is part of the Research Engagement Directorate, working in the Policy, Strategy and Impact team to create and support engagement at all levels. The multi-faceted nature of public engagement means the team work closely with colleagues in Researcher Development, Marketing and Communications, Alumni Relations and Student Recruitment.
Dr Laura Wicks, Public Engagement Lead
Laura developed and leads the multi-award-winning Public Engagement initiative for Heriot-Watt University. Within this role, she supports, stimulates and promotes public engagement activities across the University, with the vision of embedding public engagement activities into academic life, building on the University's strong history of public engagement with local, national and international communities.
Laura has a particular focus on multi-disciplinary projects, working with people from different disciplines to create projects reaching diverse audiences, addressing the universities’ social responsibilities and links to wider society.
Laura's background is in marine biology and climate change, completing a PhD in marine biology in New Zealand, and originally joining Heriot-Watt as a Research Associate.
Dr Alison Keir, Public Engagement Project Co-ordinator
Ally joined Heriot-Watt Engage in October 2018 and is responsible for the coordination of the University's contribution to Explorathon and the Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF). She also supports the
Alison's background is in Archaeology where she dedicated her career to engaging, researching and involving the public with archaelogical research.
Engaged University Steering Group
The Engaged University Steering Group is chaired by Prof. Garry Pender, Deputy Principal for Research and Innovation, and involves key senior stakeholders from across professional services and academia. The group provides a strategic lead for the University's public engagement activity, with activities aligned to Strategy 2025.