National Astronomers Meeting 2021: Evaluation Brief

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement

The Public Engagement Unit at the University of Bath has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to explore embedding public engagement into an academic conference. We are going to be exploring embedding public engagement into the 2021 National Astronomers Meeting (NAM).

National Astronomers Meeting

NAM 2021 will be taking place from the 19th – 23rd July via the online platform Hopin. Conference days will start at 9am and finish at 5.30pm. Each conference day is made up of three blocks of six parallel sessions with additional sessions in the lunch break. These sessions cover astronomy-related science alongside public engagement topics. The conference will also involve additional sessions such as a poster/showcase session.

Embedding public engagement

To embed public engagement into NAM 2021 we have been doing the following:

  • Arranging public engagement activities for delegates to take part in
  • Arranging public engagement training sessions for delegates to learn from
  • Setting up opportunities for delegates to share their public engagement work e.g. poster session and outreach lunch
  • Including information on public engagement at all levels of the conference including registration information, webpages, session information and social media
  • Providing opportunities for delegates to be rewarded for their public engagement work

Impact objectives for NAM 2021

  • Delegates feel that public engagement is a visible and important part of NAM 2021
  • Delegates feel that public engagement is well integrated into NAM 2021
  • Delegates participate in new public engagement activities
  • Delegates learn new things about public engagement
  • Delegates experience of public engagement at NAM compares favourably to their experience of public engagement in their home institution
  • Delegates feel that senior leaders have championed public engagement at NAM


We would like to commission an evaluator to create and carry out an evaluation plan for the public engagement activities NAM 2021 to assess how well public engagement has been embedded into the conference. This would include creating evaluation tools, analysis of data; and producing a report outlining key findings. The evaluator will develop this work in consultation with Rob Cooper (Public Engagement Officer) and the Public Engagement Unit.

We expect this to involve a primarily qualitative approach with some quantitative tools where appropriate. We expect a range of light touch tools e.g. interviews, snapshot interviews, focus groups, opinion trees.


The main deliverables of this commission will include:

  • creation of an evaluation plan
  • developing light touch mixed methods tools to collect data
  • briefing a small team of evaluation casual workers
  • conducting evaluation activities during NAM from the 19th – 23rd July
  • analysis of evaluation data and creation of a summary report
  • provide a set of recommendations for how public engagement can continue to be embedded in NAM 2022

Budget and timeline

The budget for this commission is £2,500 inc. VAT and all expenses. As a guide it is anticipated that activities are delivered on the below timetable:

  • Monday 21 June – consultant appointed and work begins
  • Monday 5 July – Evaluation plan delivered with tools
  • Week commencing 12 July – briefings for evaluation team on evaluation tools
  • Monday 19 to Friday 23 July – NAM takes place online
  • August – Analysis of data
  • September – Draft and final evaluation report delivered

To apply

Please send a one-page evaluation plan to the Public Engagement Unit at with ‘NAM Evaluation’ in the subject line. This plan should briefly outline how you would approach evaluating NAM 2021 with reference to evaluation tools.

The deadline for applications is Friday 18 June.

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement


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