A new project has been funded by NERC that takes an innovative approach to engaging the public in environmental science issues such as climate change and pollution.
The project – which includes NCEO as a partner – combines community development, storytelling and citizen science, enabling diverse communities to have a meaningful stake in discussing and tackling environmental science issues. It aims to create lasting change in public engagement practice by providing learning opportunities while shaping future activities to equip NERC’s research community and diverse communities with essential skills in public leadership.
It is led by the University of Reading, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, University College London, the University of Salford, The University of Manchester, Newcastle University, and the organisations Earthwatch, Tekiu, and Citizens UK. A further 25 partners, including the NCEO, the Woodland Trust, the Natural History Museum and open science portal Figshare, will also contribute to the project.
Dr Hilary Geoghegan, the lead academic on the NERC Community for Engaging Environments platform at the University of Reading, said:
“I’m very excited to continue working with communities across the UK, NERC researchers and our partners. We’ll be developing our capacity to listen and exchange stories about the environment and environmental change to co-create and make environmental research meaningful and relevant. For the entire team, Engaging Environments is critically important, and offers the chance to transform public engagement with environmental research, to ensure it can make a real difference through learning with those traditionally marginalised from science, but most likely to be affected by environmental issues.”
Duncan Wingham, NERC Executive Chair, said:
As NERC’s largest investment in public engagement to date, the second stage of Engaging Environments represents our recognition of the importance of public involvement, and our commitment to enabling high-quality engagement with environmental research. This programme will equip the NERC research community, and wider groups, with the skills and confidence to take innovative approaches to collaborating with the public in research.