Effective public engagement takes both time and money and it is important to have an adequate budget for both. Be realistic. How much time can you reasonably dedicate to the public engagement activity?
If you have limited time available for public engagement activities but feel they would benefit you and the public, either approach a dedicated staff member funded as part of the research grant or consider involving a specialist agency in the project. Even with this support you should still allow time to fully engage in the project development, from concept to delivery.
Costs vary tremendously depending on the nature and complexity of the activity. A single public lecture may cost very little, particularly if you can tap into an existing lecture series. In contrast, a consensus conference involves considerable resources, both in time and money.
Areas to consider when developing a budget include:
- Staff costs (your time, but also support staff and administration)
- Participant costs (do you need to reimburse them for time as well as travel?)
- Travel and subsistence costs
- Venue hire
- Materials and equipment (including marketing materials)
- Other costs (for example website design or costs for surveys)
- Evaluation of the activity or event
People and participation.net (external website) have developed a resource calculator, highlighting everything from costs to time needed.
Next step, Using specialist agencies.