School of Physical Sciences awarded Silver Engage Watermark

Olivia Miller

The School of Physical Sciences (SPS) has been awarded the Silver Engage Watermark by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), in recognition of its commitment to public engagement.

The Engage Watermark is an award granted to institutions to recognise their strategic support for public engagement and their commitment to improve the support offered.

Following a rigorous assessment involving staff from SPS and partner organisations working with them, the Silver award acknowledges the strategic support for public engagement across the School, as well as the plans to develop this work in the future. SPS demonstrated that it is using evidence and intelligence working with the community to focus its public engagement efforts, from industry and stakeholder engagement to conversations with the public and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Professor Nigel Mason, Head of SPS, said: ‘The School of Physical Sciences is delighted and very proud by the award of Silver Watermark. We have placed Public Engagement and Communications (PEC) as a third stream of our mission alongside Teaching and Scholarship and Research and Enterprise, believing that to achieve excellence in these missions we must disseminate our aims and achievements to the widest number of stakeholders. Placing PEC at the centre of our teaching and research and supporting our staff in their PEC work is core to the School. We are therefore thrilled to achieve NCCPE recognition of our work in this area and look forward to making continued progress both in our school and across the Division of Natural Sciences and the University.’

Professor Claire Peppiatt-Wildman, Director of the Division of Natural Sciences, said: ‘Public engagement is at the core of the University, and we are proud that SPS has demonstrated its commitment to this – engaging with stakeholders and the local community to make a difference. We aim to continue maximising the positive impact that our research can have on society, and staff in SPS look forward to collaborating to drive this further.’

Sophie Duncan, Co-Director of the NCCPE said: ‘It has been a real pleasure doing the watermark assessment with the School of Physical Sciences. SPS has laid strong foundations for public engagement, embedding it within their strategy and their work, and ensuring there is dedicated time for staff to get involved. The core staff responsible for embedding engagement in the School, and the tailored support offered, is highly valued. The long-term partnership with Discovery Planet is an exemplar of effective engagement practice. There is both the ambition and the necessary resources to build on these foundations in the future, and therefore we are delighted to award the School of Physical Sciences a silver award.’