The interactive english speaking online training from 3-4 November 2021 was composed of an interdisciplinary group of phd-students and postdocs of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Starting into the training on the first day they introduced themselves naming three words they connect with the “univercity of the future”.  “Inclusive”, “Flexible”, “Open” and “Innovative” were the terms that were mentioned several times, the university of the future for the participants is also “Inspiring”, “Creative”, “Interactive” and “Engaged”, “Democratic” and “Empowering” among others.

From “Topic-Driven” to “Challenge-and Impact-Driven Research and Innovation and Impact-Oriented Proposal Design

After a short input regarding important key terms and models of Science Communication and Public Engagement we talked about the current trend from topic-driven research to challenge- and impact-driven research and innovation. This trend is particularly sparked by European and national funding bodies. After an overview on impact-oriented research, including concrete tipps, the participants were invited to describe the impact of their research in the form that is requested in Horizon Europe proposals.

Strategic Stakeholder Engagement

On day 2 strategic engagement of important stakeholders was on the agenda firstly. Stakeholders in this regard are actors who could be interested in the research and its outcomes as well as actors who could be crucial for transferring research to society and achieving impact. After giving some input on this topic the young researchers analyzed which stakeholders could be relevant for their own research field. They thought about possible interests these stakeholder groups might have in their topic, of barriers that might exist when working with them and which approaches the researchers could apply to overcome these barriers.

Let’s get to business: How do I plan a Public Engagement Strategy?

The last part of this training was composed of concrete tipps for designing a Public Engagement Strategy. In an exercise the participants developed a concrete Public Engagement format for their research field, specifically customized for one of their stakeholder groups.