Publi Engagement with Universities


There is a new emphasis on the importance of engaging the public with research, signified by the launch of the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research. Ketso is an ideal tool for engaging the public in research, as it gives everyone a voice and allows people to learn from each other easily.

Watch this brief video about Ketso in Research to learn how it can be used to engage with stakeholders at every stage of the research process.

Ketso has been in engaging with the public and stakeholders to:

  • develop new research directions (e.g. looking at Rights to the City)
  • formulate research questions and develop the understanding of the problems (e.g. involving young people in considering Leisure Lives at the University of Salford
  • gather expert input on research questions (e.g. on an international advisory committee for flood risk resilience research at the University of Manchester and with an expert advisory group in research in Tesco)
  • engage with community members and stakeholders to gather data (e.g. in use by GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network) at the University of Glasgow)
  • disseminate the results of data in an engaging and interactive way (e.g. working with urban dwellers in Peru to disseminate the results of a PhD conducted at the University of Newcastle) - now published as a peer-reviewed article.

Ketso is featured as a case study in Engagement@Manchester.

Examples include:

Returning knowledge back to Bellavista Nanay (Peru): A researcher’s perspective

Claire Furlong

A number of important discoveries were made in relation to drinking water and contamination in PhD at Newcastle University (C. Furlong, 2009), the main aim of which was to explore the link between actual and perceived drinking water quality in a community in Peru. Bellavista Nanay is a peri-urban community 5 km from Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon.

The aim of this ESRC funded fieldwork was to return the knowledge from analysis in the PhD to the community in a participatory way. The method was chosen to enable capacity to be built, so that household drinking water managers could make informed choices when managing water.

Adapted from paper written - 35th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough, UK, 2011-    


Dowload case study here.

Read peer-reviewed article article about Ketso as a research method stemming from this project.

Delivering  engagement, outreach, skills development and enterprise promotion in Universities in a time of budget cuts

Universities in the UK have made great strides in the last several years in the areas of public and stakeholder engagement, outreach and widening participation, transferable skills development and promoting enterprise development. The sector faces challenging times in the midst of budget cuts.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Ketso is hosting a series of workshops to discuss how to continue this work under challenging circumstances.  We invited people from across a diverse range of Universities, so that people working with widening participation in primary schools through to those developing research skills for post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers were able learn from each other.

These workshops are supported by the Manchester Beacon for Public Engagement. The first workshop brought together 26 people from the Universities of Manchester, Salford, Bradford, Staffordshire, MMU, Oldham, Royal Northern College of Music and from Aim Higher Lancashire. During the two-hour dialogue, 434 ideas were developed and captured on the Ketso workspaces.

The second event at the Gordon Museum, Kings College London in Jan. 2011 brought together 46 people from Universities and organisations across the South East. This workshop generated 597 ideas in two hours, of which 195 were creative new ideas for the future, and 179 were ideas around what is working well.  Many of the next steps that participants came up with were around fostering more collaboration amongst Higher Education Institution. There were also next steps relating to becoming more entrepreneurial within academic roles, as well as setting up a company and a social enterprise. Other next steps included:

  • Build / strengthen case for PE roles @ institution level
  • Build greater knowledge of careers in the global economy
  • Facilitate communication
  • Promote and use a coaching approach
  • Come up with new ideas communicating effectively with individuals
  • Look for more opportunities outside of my organisation for collaboration and publication of science and education
  • Build on a community of practice for researcher development
  • Gather evidence proving how valuable we are
  • More talking face to face meetings
  • Target specific activities done cheaply
  • Furiously build links with schools whilst Aimhigher still exists
  • Promote positive impact of volunteering to students
  • Look into recruiting volunteers, new opportunities

Feedback about the workshop inlcuded:

  • Range of perspectives from participants
  • Hands on / positive / inclusive / positive outcomes
  • A useful opportunity to share ideas with colleagues
  • Kinaesthetic, team building
  • All levels of staff working together
  • Interesting to meet / network with others working in my field
  • Useful cross-institution discussions about the future
  • Great to try out Ketso and appreciate how levels / stages of inquiry work in practice

We will write a synthesis report from these workshops. In the meantime, you can download the full set of results from the workshops here:

Creative engagement with stakeholders in research and knowledge exchange, Edinburgh 21st September, 2010

Sustainable Edinburgh

This 3 hour workshop was hosted by the Edinburgh Beltane Beacon for Public Engagement, at the University of Edinburgh. The focus was creative engagement with stakeholders in research and knowledge exchange. The 24 participants came from a range of Universities and organisation across Scotland, including the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt, and Genecom and Renewnet. There were two exercises, one looking at how to improve stakeholder engagement in the participants’ own projects, and the second exploring ideas for a Sustainable Edinburgh.