Societal engagement training opportunities to support our staff and students.  

Engagement skills and attributes map

We've developed a map of societal engagement skills and attributes to help you track your professional development in the area and plan your training. 

Training opportunities

A range of societal engagement-related training opportunities is being delivered internally, which are designed to support our staff and students in developing high quality engagement work. Further opportunities are currently being developed by the societal engagement team and will be piloted for the 2017/18 academic year, so please check back for new opportunities.

For more information or guidance on which training would best suit your needs, please contact us at

Training for Staff

Internal Training

Public Engagement and Evaluation Masterclasses

What is public engagement, why is it important, and how do you know if your public engagement activities are successful? Our new masterclasses will help you build on your public engagement goals to deliver enjoyable and meaningful activities for you and your participants.

  • Exploring Public Engagement– This interactive session will provide an opportunity to reflect on your own public engagement experiences, find out why engagement is so important for major funders, explore approaches and discover opportunities for public engagement at Imperial and beyond. This free masterclass is aimed at staff members looking to broaden their skills and understanding in public engagement. It is not designed for experienced engagement practitioners. Space is strictly limited to 20 places. The next available session takes place on 7 March 2018.
  • Evaluating Engagement – This lively masterclass will highlight the value of evaluation, enabling you to assess your public engagement activities and revealing the areas that may need fine-tuning. You will develop aims and objectives, explore the principles of high-quality evaluation and choose your own methods. This free course is for staff with some experience of delivering public engagement but limited experience of evaluating public engagement, or for staff wanting to identify a new approach to evaluating engagement. Space is strictly limited to 20 places. There is an upcoming session on 9 April 2018.
  • Engagement Ideas – If you would like to develop your ideas for a public engagement event or activity, come along to our masterclass and get inspired! This free course for staff will explore creative approaches, problem-solving and ideas generation to help participants develop public engagement activities or events. Space is strictly limited to 20 places. The next session takes place on 20 March 2018.

Imperial Engagement Academy

This unique opportunity is delivered in partnership between Imperial's Science Communication Unit and the Societal Engagement Team. Participants will get the opportunity to explore the relationship between STEM research and our society, acquire practical engagement skills, and develop confidence, leadership skills and professional identity among a supportive cohort of colleagues. This opportunity is free to Imperial staff. Please note that the deadline for this opportunity has now passed. Find out more about Imperial's Engagement Academy.

Learning & Development Centre

  • Social Media at Work - This short introductory course aims to make staff more aware of the role of Social Media in the workplace and via the use of video and activities, equip them with the knowledge to use Social Media in a more professional and productive way at work. This course is open to Imperial College Staff only.
  • Strategic Training in External Partnerships (STEP) Programme - The STEP programme has been established with the aim of diversifying research income in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Its goal is to support the Imperial research community in building new collaborations, diversify their research portfolio and deliver excellence with impact. The programme has been specifically designed for the cohort of new starters from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
  • Faculty of Engineering Academic Communications Master-class Programme - The Faculty of Engineering is partnering with the Learning and Development Centre to pilot a tailored series of academic master-classes beginning in October 2016. Designed to focus on key communication-related aspects of academic life, the sessions begin with ‘Working with Industry at Imperial’, led by the Corporate Partnerships team with participation by ICON. This will be followed by ‘Techniques for Effective Public Speaking’, an actor-led session designed to enhance vocal skills and speaking confidence and 'Science and Social Media', which explores the potential benefits of using social media in a scientific context. 

Postdoc Development Centre

  • Science Communication: Reaching a Wider Audience – This workshop will prepare you to talk about your work with scientists outside your specialism, media professionals, and members of the public. Through a hands-on activity with professional audio equipment, you will have the opportunity to explore some new skills by participating in the recording and editing of a short radio feature.
  • Great Presentations for Great Results - In this course you will consider how to communicate research findings or outcomes in a fascinating and exciting way.  You will have an opportunity to put into practice all that you learn in the course and then receive feedback on your presentation.
  • Personal Pitching: Selling Your Research and Expertise - Using your research as a starting point, here you will hone a series of short pitches (oral, written, virtual communication methods) with the aim of getting people to the stage of wanting to know more about you and your work.
  • One to One Voice Coaching Sessions - Would you like to learn exercises that will reduce vocal strain, improve vocal range, variety, clarity and pronunciation and gain and hold the attention of an audience? Would you like to make a positive initial impact and keep control of difficult situations? In this individualised and confidential one-hour session you will determine the objectives and work on exercises to address your specific needs. 

Student Recruitment and Outreach

  • School governors' network – Launched in December 2016, this network aims to support staff members who are School Governors, to share expertise and best practice and to identify ways that Imperial can engage better with schools. 

School of Public Health

  • Co-Creating Innovative Solutions for Healthcare (CRISH) - CRISH is a free EIT Health short course, which aims to teach multidisciplinary healthcare team members (such as clinicians, nurses, AHP, managers, researchers and patients) to co-create solutions for healthcare, whether for service provision, research, device or other innovation development. Ideally, up to 3 different types of stakeholders from the same team or subject area (preferably including a patient or member of the public) would attend the course together and work on their real-life project. If you're not part of a team, then individuals can also apply to attend and may be grouped with others depending on their area of interest; however preference will be given to those who apply as a group. Registration is now open for the next sessions on 19–20 April at the Royal School of Mines, South Kensington Campus.
  • Patient and public involvement (PPI) training - In collaboration with the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU), the Patient Experience Research Centre has developed a series of training modules for both researchers and patients/ members of the public who may be involved in research. There are sessions throughout Spring 2018.

External Training

  • National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement - The NCCPE run a series of public engagement training courses every year, ranging from introductory courses on public engagement to sessions on funding, evaluation, impact and brokering partnerships. They also run the Engage Researchers' Academy, which is a year-long programme aimed at early to mid-career researchers. The Engage Researchers' Academy costs £970, although a limited number of bursaries are available from NCCPE. 
  • The Royal Society - On this one-day media skills training course you will work with an experienced TV production team, a top voice coach, and a leading science communicator to prepare and practice media interviews. The course fee is £450 + VAT.
  • Economic and Social Research Council - ESRC offer ESRC-funded researchers a free one-day media training session that provides the opportunity to develop practical media skills in a safe environment. 
  • BBSRC - This training course is offered free of charge to any researcher supported by BBSRC, working on a BBSRC grant or based at a BBSRC-funded institute.
  • Wellcome Trust – run an annual public engagement masterclass in partnership with the Wellcome Genome Campus. This is for new principal investigators and other mid-career researchers from all disciplines. It helps researchers to be proactive and develop their own public engagement plans. Masterclasses take place in July each year. Wellcome-funded researchers can request a bursary to attend for free.
  • British Science Association  – The British Science Association Media Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for practising scientists, clinicians and engineers to spend two to six weeks working at the heart of a media outlet such as the Guardian, BBC Breakfast or the Londonist.

Training for Students

Imperial College Union

  • Imperial Plus is the Union’s student development programme that recognises volunteering efforts, helping students to identify and articulate the skills and experiences gained through volunteering that graduate recruiters’ value. All ICU training workshops can be accessed by any student recording their volunteer hours toward Imperial Plus - they’re free to attend and run regularly throughout the year.
  • The Skills Development Programme (SDP), which is Endorsed by the Institute of Leadership & Management, goes one step further and recognises the skills you have developed alongside your volunteering hours through short, reflective assignments following the training workshops. Upon completing the Skills Development Programme you will received an ILM Endorsed Certificate, which clearly demonstrates to graduate recruiters the practical skills you have developed. 
  • The Pimlico Connection - The Union support students to volunteer to become Pimlico Connection Tutors, providing a half-day training session that aims to impart information about the English school system and the National Curriculum, address importance of clear communication as a tutor, introduce responsibilities and finally plan and deliver tutor sessions. This has also previously included a workshop on public speaking. 

Imperial Horizons

The Imperial Horizons programme offers a wide range of courses for all Imperial College undergraduates. It is designed to broaden education, inspire creativity and enhance professional impact. 

Communicating Science: The Public and The Media (HSCS2001) This course provides a theoretical and practical introduction to science communication. Students learn about models of science communication and how these interact with risk and social responsibility. Students are also encouraged to acquire an understanding of news values and develop practical journalistic skills such as writing press releases.

Graduate School

i. Public engagement - learn how to design and deliver interactive activities for public engagement.

ii. Communicating Research in Schools - learn about and practice communication techniques to help you develop talks and activities for school aged audiences. The course also covers the practical aspects of working in schools.  Students who have completed this course can register to become an ‘Outreach Postgraduate Ambassador’ and receive details of opportunities available through the Outreach Office to work with schools. 

  • Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) challenges PhD students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Following Departmental heats, 19 students took part in the 2016 final. For 2017, the Graduate School are looking to increase public awareness in the competition.
  • Doctoral Student Coaching Programme The Graduate School's doctoral student coaching programme has been established to provide you with an opportunity to talk, independently from your academic department, about challenges you may be experiencing as you study for your doctorate.  Although the Graduate School's coaching programme primarily focuses on building effective working relationships, it is recognised that there may be other self-development issues that you wish to explore with a coach. 

Student Recruitment & Outreach

Student Recruitment & Outreach

  • Outreach Postgraduate Ambassadors – this scheme provides an opportunity for Post Graduates to work with local schools and inspire young audiences to consider studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business subjects. There are currently approximately 30 ambassadors enrolled on the scheme.
  • Royal Institution’s Primary Maths Master Class - hands-on and interactive extracurricular sessions that are designed to improve the way staff communicate with primary school children, provided by the Royal Institution and hosted by the Outreach team.