Lady and children wearing VR headsets
We support researchers with a mix of both internal and external funding opportunities to try out new public engagement methods and approaches and to embed it within their research proposals.
The public engagement team support researchers who are developing their own public engagement plans. The public engagement team apply for public engagement funding from research funders. These funds may have an institution-wide approach or focus on embedding engagement with research culture. For example, the University of Plymouth receives funding from the European Commission to deliver the FUTURES festival of discovery, a European public engagement event as part of a Higher Education consortium led by the University of Bristol.
We apply to national and international funding bodies who support public engagement activity with research. The funding is used to implement new public engagement projects and events delivered by our team, or to offer funding opportunities to community partners, who are actively looking to work with our researchers to solve a problem or understand their communities better.
There are a number of opportunities for researchers to get involved in public engagement and to try new ways of working.
Please contact the team at with any queries.

Explore Awards

Supporting public engagement for researchers
The Explore Awards aim to assist researchers, with priority for Early Career Researchers, in a range of ways to support public engagement with research. Awards of between £3,000 – £6,000 are available.

It was a real honour to meet with the Wounaan people and to experience their culture. I hope my work proves beneficial to them.

Through the Explore Awards funding Reuben was able to work with partners and key stakeholders to build on the successes of finding a new species of Shipworm in the mango swamps of Panama.

Reuben ShipwayReuben Shipway
Lecturer in Marine Biology


Get Involved Awards

Do you have a local issue that needs researching? Have you got a problem in your community that you want to resolve, or an idea to help the city? You can get involved in community research with us!
Community groups, charities and social enterprises can apply to work with University of Plymouth’s researchers, to better understand a problem in their local area and to gain valuable insights. By developing new projects, we aim to build a network of community groups working with academics to exchange ideas and respond to real community challenges for our city.
2022 Get Involved Awards

Small Awards for public engagement

Due to an overwhelming response the Small Awards are closed while we allocate funding. The awards may open at a later date, so please keep checking back for updates.
Need a small amount of funding to enrich your existing public engagement plans? Could a small amount of funding make a difference to people’s experience of your engagement plans or your ability to make the most of it?
The Public Engagement Small Awards are here to do just that. Funding is available for researchers who have existing public engagement plans.
A young girl talking to a woman at an exhibition stand, which displays the sign 'How do plants cope without rain?'.

Find out about past Small Awards

For our last offering of Small Awards, successful applicants received up to £500 of funding, which they could use in the following ways:
  • travel and subsistence
  • branded items such as t-shirts, banners and fliers
  • consumables such as stationery and marketing materials
  • the creation of new materials (physical and digital) intended to enhance public engagement 
  • photography or any other methods of evidence collation for public engagement.
Applicants could not use the funding for:
  • pure dissemination activities without substantial two-way engagement
  • research costs (e.g., transcription)
  • alcohol
  • pre-conference dinners
  • first-class travel
  • business engagement.
How we define ‘public engagement’
The awards are to support public engagement with research. By this, we mean the different ways in which researchers can actively involve the public in research activity. This activity is two-way in nature, with mutual benefit at its heart. The fund does not support pure research dissemination activities.

Small Awards success

Ten Wee Devon Pints is a project that brought together ten composers and ten Devon breweries to write ten brewery-themed clarinet pieces. Our aim was to commission clarinet pieces which were equally accessible and exciting, while celebrating the rich heritage of Devon's brewing industry. The composers took a range of approaches to their compositions, from musically representing the brewing process to celebrating the community spirit of the breweries. The result is a fun and varied collection of pieces that celebrate Devon, its people and its beers!
The complete collection was premiered by Sarah Watts at Bulletproof Brewing (Plymouth), Stannary Brewing Co. (Tavistock) and New Lion Brewery (Dartington) in March 2023. The score collection is available through Wonderful Winds and the album is available through Cuillin Sound The project was organised by Núria Bonet and Sarah Watts with the support of the British Academy Early Career Researcher Network Seed Funding. The University of Plymouth Public Engagement Small Award enabled the filming of the project and the production of a documentary and a full concert recording.

External funding opportunities

To discover the most current range of public engagement funding opportunities, please visit the Research Professional using your institutional log in.
Up to date information on External Funding opportunities is available on the NCCPE website.