Public Engagement team celebrate six years of sector-leading Academy


Engagement Academy 2024 cohort

Eighteen members of staff recently celebrated graduating from Imperial’s sector-leading Engagement Academy.

Now in its sixth year, this externally-accredited course supports participants to develop their societal engagement practice by experimenting with ideas and reflecting on experiences – building their confidence, leadership skills and professional identity, among a supportive cohort of colleagues.    

The academy is delivered in partnership between Imperial's Science Communication Unit and Public and Community Engagement team, providing a practical programme of workshops, seminars, off-site visits and mentorship. Open to all staff from across the university, including academics and professional services staff, the academy is run over seven months.

"The Engagement Academy has been one of the highlights of my time at Imperial College London." Jack Cooper IGHI Communications and Events Officer, Institute of Global Health Innovation

“The Engagement Academy offers a valuable opportunity for Imperial staff to think critically about the ways in which societal engagement with science can be encouraged”, explains Dr Felicity Mellor, Director of Imperial’s Science Communication Unit. “By drawing on both the academic and media expertise of the Science Communication Unit and the delivery expertise of the Public Engagement Team, the Academy is able to explore challenging aspects of engagement at the same time as supporting participants in developing their own engagement projects.” 

Vicky Brightman and participants of the Engagement AcademyVicky Brightman, Director of Public and Community Engagement, who has been involved with the academy since its inception, highlights “the Academy is externally accredited by the Institute of Leadership. This helps recognise that to develop and deliver engagement in a meaningful and impactful way takes a depth of skills and understanding.” 

“I joined the academy to learn more about different methods to engage effectively and improve my practice.” Dr Jose Jimenez Zarco Reader in Synthetic Biology, Life Sciences

The 2024 cohort included staff from fourteen different departments including Chemical Engineering, Digestion and Reproduction, the Institute for Security Science and Technology and Life Sciences. From dementia to aeronautical engineering, coral reefs to inequities in maternal care, throughout the duration of the course Academy participants had the opportunity to create and develop their own engagement ideas (focusing on a subject area of their choice), resulting in the delivery of activities for young adults at Imperial Lates, patient involvement and community engagement initiatives, workshops for family audiences in White City and much more.

Engagement Academy 2024 celebration“It was a deeply inspiring course,” reports Academy participant Jack Cooper from the Institute of Global Health Innovation, “not only because it taught me the methodologies and techniques behind intentional, impactful public engagement, but because it connected me to so many like-minded colleagues across the university. I am already implementing what I learned on the course and have definitely become a better engagement professional as a result.” 

“I found the collaborative and supportive environment to be extremely enriching.” Dr Pallavi Nair Postdoc Research Associate, Department of Primary Care and Public Health

Applications for next year’s Engagement Academy will open in early August 2024. Further details and how to apply will be shared on our website. Staff are also encouraged to book a 1-to-1 advice session with a member of the Public and Community Engagement team, if they would like any support or guidance when applying.


Charlotte Coales

Charlotte Coales
Office of the Provost

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Staff-development, White-City-Community-Engagement, Public-engagement, Societal-engagement
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