New £480,000 fund for cutting edge public engagement projects

Press release

Today, (Thursday 9 June) the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announce a new £480,000 fund for cutting edge projects that engage people with finding solutions to society’s biggest issues.

Grants will be awarded to up to eight pilot projects which propose new and creative ways to engage people in conversations on topics like net-zero, health, ageing and wellbeing.

This practice is commonly known as ‘public dialogue’. The winning projects will also collect and share what they learn to inspire greater experimentation in the future.

This new Rethinking Public Dialogue fund has been created by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with support from the RSA.

The RSA has a 260-year track record of funding innovative ideas, projects and tools which have transformed the way we live our lives.

Dr Alice Mathers, Director of Research of the RSA said: “Public dialogue is about connection, collaboration, and harnessing collective intelligence to unlock ideas and inspiration on issues that affect us all. We’re interested in mass engagement projects, in activities that involve underrepresented groups and shift power imbalances, and proposals that capture more casual discussions and opinions. These projects could be online or offline, formal or informal – what matters to us is they are new and fresh. We're thrilled to be working with UKRI to support new innovations and experimental approaches that will shape and stretch the next steps for research and innovation.” 

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI said: “UKRI wants to see a much deeper connection between research, innovation and society. This will make it easier to reap the benefits of our investments and to identify and prioritise the challenges and opportunities people really care about. With this new fund we are committing to exploring new methods that enable us to understand public concerns and aspirations in a more systematic way.”

Pilots are anticipated to last no longer than 9 months in their delivery and should be concluded by summer 2023.

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