From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Understanding public engagement and participation in research

Within the UK science policy context there has been an increasing drive for public engagement (PE) to become a core part of research funding bodies’ activities and organisational cultures. Funders have a strong influence on researchers’ practices and, to date, non-commercial research funding bodies have supported this drive to embed PE within research in different ways.

Research funding bodies have undoubtedly made a significant contribution to the development of science-society relationships within research culture over the decades. Nevertheless, there appears to be a reluctance within social sciences to investigate the role that research funders play in shaping relationships with the wider community.

In light of the limited research carried out in this area, and the changing policy landscape, we developed a qualitative study to explore the role that UK non-commercial research funders play in embedding public engagement within research.



van Bekkum J, Hilton S. UK research funding bodies' views towards public participation in health-related research decisions: an exploratory study. BMC Health Services Research 2014;14:318

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