Heriot-Watt University's Postgraduate Centre provided an inspiring venue for an early morning public engagement event, the Beltane Breakfast.
Developing public engagement
Organised by HW Engage in collaboration with the Beltane public engagement network, the event brought together PhD students, academic staff, policymakers and Knowledge Exchange practitioners, to discuss how research and researchers can engage with different audiences to help inform public policy making in Scotland.
Guest speaker, Dr Antje Branding from the Agriculture and Rural Development Division, Scottish Government, discussed the Scottish environmental policymaking process, and highlighted the importance of objectivity and succinctness in communicating with policymakers.
Ragne Lowe of the Climate XChange initiative also discussed the challenges of brokering relationships between academic researchers and policymakers, highlighting the importance of succinctness and objectivity in academic communication.
Dr Grant Wright, Lecturer in the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University, reflected on his experience of engaging the public on the implementation of environmental policies via an EPSRC Partnerships for Public Engagement grant. Grant has now been awarded a grant from the Scottish Government to undertake a series of workshops related to urban flooding and community resilience at schools across Scotland. Reflecting on the importance of communicating environmental messages to children, who are the public and policymakers of the future, Grant said: "Kids minds are like sponges, and academics can help ensure that at least some of what gets absorbed is useful (and true!)."
HW Engage continues to support the academic community increase the impact of their research through various forms of public engagement, including with policymaking. It also recently launched this year's Principals Public Engagement Prize, recognising the important of public engagement to the University.
For further information on HW Engage, contact email@example.com