Evaluation of Connected Communities Public Dialogue Activity

Commissioned by the ESRC and AHRC, the Science Communication Unit, led by Dr Clare Wilkinson, is undertaking an evaluation of a dialogue day.

Context of the project

Connected Communities was a cross-council Research Programme led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The overall aim of the programme was to mobilise the potential for increasingly inter-connected, culturally diverse communities to enhance participation, prosperity, sustainability, health and well-being by better connecting research, stakeholders and communities.

The ESRC in funding partnership with AHRC, working together under the Connected Communities Programme, invited outline proposals for two large research grants each costed up to £2.4 million in the area of community engagement and mobilisation. It was intended that all applicants invited to submit a full proposal would also participate in a one day public dialogue activity prior to the deadline. The public dialogue, organised and facilitated by Hopkins Van Mills, intended to provide a one-day space in which members of the public can deliberate on some of the issues that the applicants are seeking to address, enabling two way engagement between the applicants and the participants.


The Science Communication Unit’s role in the project was to assess whether the objectives of the public dialogue have been met, namely:

  • to enable grant applicants to engage with the public in a formalised setting around their proposed research topic
  • to enable the public to deliberate on the issues and challenges raised by the grant applicants
  • to inform, where appropriate, further development of full proposals, in light of outcomes of the dialogue.

A series of observations, questionnaires and interviews occurred in 2012, to assess whether these objectives have been met. We are grateful to the many community members that have already contributed their views.

Find out more

Download the Connected Communities brochure from the ESRC for more information.

If you would like additional information about this project or to submit your views, please contact Clare Wilkinson at clare.wilkinson@uwe.ac.uk, tel: +44 (0)117 32 82146

Further information on the project including how it is being disseminated will be available on the Science Communication Unit web pages in due course.