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RCUK PET Catalysts: Public engagement with the research process and research findings at the Institute of Education
Research Councils UK This project aims to develop the capacity of the London-based Institute of Education (IOE) to actively involve the public in its research work. The IOE, which was founded as a teacher training institution in 1902 is now a world-class research and teaching institution for education and related social sciences. The Institute's immediate public include pupils, parents, teachers, and managers of schools and other services for children and families. Other publics include community groups whose interests overlap with education and related areas of social science and professional practice. Research Methods IOE research groups have collaborated with pupils and teachers inside and outside school, and with charities for young people to ensure research projects address the issues most critical to them. Teachers, managers and others have participated in debates with Institute researchers on IOE research findings and have been enabled to develop skills for conducting their own research. At a more strategic level, the Institute includes people with public perspectives as part of its formal committee structures that decide how the Institute should do its research, for example on research ethics committees. The project is based upon the understanding that public engagement with research can take many forms and that meaningful and effective engagement requires clarity from all those involved about this variation. It is important for researchers and those engaging with them to be clear about the purposes behind engagement, as this can inform choices about whom it might be appropriate to engage and the models of dialogue that might suit. This project aims to build on the Institute's existing public engagement work. Through a programme of leadership, policy development, training and support, and shared learning and evaluation, the project will help increase clarity and understanding about public engagement in research amongst staff and students throughout the Institute, increase levels of support and resources for engagement activities and engender a culture of collective, as well as individual responsibility for the Institute's dialogue with its publics about research.
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