Exciting collaborative projects receive funding from the Participate Grants

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement, Engage Grants, Leading Public Engagement

With funding from Research England the Public Engagement Unit is thrilled to announce the successful projects funded through the Participate Grants fund.

Funding for collaboration

Since late 2022 we've been investigating what the culture of participatory research looks like at the University of Bath and scoping out ways to better support meaningful public involvement in research through our ParticipatoryResearch@Bath project.

Listening to colleagues across the University and based at community and civil society organisations, it was clear that support and resources were needed to build collaborations for research.

Taking a participatory approach to involve people in research means working across the whole research lifecycle, including funding. So, with that in mind, we co-created the funding call with researchers at the University and public partners from a local community group and a local grant-giving organisation, launching the Participate Grants in January 2024. 

Participatory research

This call defined participatory research as an approach to collaboratively generating new knowledge, insight or understanding between academics and people affected by the issues being explored. All participants are equal partners in designing, undertaking, and disseminating research.

Successful projects

Residents in Knowle West taking part in WeCanMake's Retrofit Street activities (c) Ibolya Feher

We were overwhelmed by the response to this funding opportunity, receiving applications for funds twice the total amount we had available to distribute. With colleagues from Imperial College London and the University's Research Culture Team helping to review the applications we took a portfolio approach to how we would distribute funds. We wanted to fund activities from across the three Faculties and the School, across different parts of the research cycle, projects that were led by community groups as well as researchers with various levels of experience of engagement and involvement practice.

We're investing over £74,000 in 14 collaborative research projects from right across the University of Bath. The following people were successful in their applications:

Community-led projects

Meg Aubery (Trowbridge Future), Leda Blackwood (Department of Psychology) and Emily Richards (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences central support team).

Trowbridge Future will host a researcher-in-residence to support the organisation and community members in building their skills and expertise in undertaking research that brings about positive change for themselves and their wider community.

Lucy Bartlett (Bathscape) and Dima Albadra (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering).

Working with young people as peer researchers, this project will empower them to investigate young people's experience of green spaces and work with them to co-create a vision for the future use of the former golf course Entry Hill.

Jai Breitnauer, Carina Andrews (Invisible Army) and Megan Robb (Department of Social & Policy Sciences).

As a grassroots organisation using arts to promote a better understanding of unpaid care, the Invisible Army team will be collaborating with Megan to empower the people they work with to become peer researchers.

Annie Legge (Tech4Good South West), Joanna Syrda (School of Management) and Max Western (Department for Health).

The B&NES Digital Divide Collective (led by Tech4Good South West), will explore with people across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) how tackling the digital divide can impact health and wellbeing and work to co-create a strategy for a digitally enabled population in the region.

Faculty of Engineering and Design

Dima Albadra (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering) and Charlee Bennet (Your Park Bristol & Bath).

This project will work with people of African, Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani heritage to investigate how they experience green spaces across Bristol and co-create design solutions to tackle barriers they have historically experienced in accessing these urban green spaces.

Emily Carey (Department of Mechanical Engineering).

Working with Bath and North East Somerset's Parent Carer Forum to host a series of dialogue events with parent carers and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to better understand their needs and perspectives.

Robert Grover (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering) and Melissa Mean (WeCanMake).

This project will investigate the accumulative effect of small changes to peoples' homes on UK carbon emissions by working in collaboration with residents in Bristol's Knowle West area to train and equip them to make these changes themselves and research the effects of their work.

Ramtin Sabeti (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering).

Working with and responding to the needs of Bristol and Avon Rivers Trust, this project will assess the impact of nature-based solutions (e.g. afforestation, vegetation management and leaky dams) on mitigating flood risk in the river Chew catchment area.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Alinka Gearon (Department of Social & Policy Sciences), Lisa Hooper (Escapeline), young people experts by experience and Marsha Mars (Mighty Girls).

Working together, the team will co-develop a large-scale research bid addressing child exploitation prevention. Using a practice enquiry, the project will harness local knowledge of needs and interventions, innovations and best practice approaches to fostering collaboration and trust for ongoing public partnerships in research.

Nina Higson-Sweeney, Can We Connect Young Researchers and Maria Loades (Department of Psychology).

Bringing back together the research team for the Can We Connect research project, made up of academic researchers and young people peer researchers, to reflect on their experiences and co-author materials such as a blog, paper and guidance on collaborative research between academics and young people.

Gemma Parry (Department for Health).

Gemma will work with a cohort of PE teachers to help inform the development of a professional development resource around the effects of teenage growth spurts on young people's experience of school sports.

Ben Radley, Naomi Pendle and George Gumisiriza (Department of Social & Policy Sciences) and members of Fairfield House.

The team will collaborate to create a walk of the city, celebrating the wide-ranging but under-documented history and contributions made by Africans, Caribbeans, and people of African and Caribbean descent to the City of Bath.

Rachel Wilder (Department of Education), Marsha Mars (Mighty Girls) and Jim Cumpson (Boys in Mind).

Building on previous research into young girls' experience of peer-on-peer harassment in school settings, this project will work with youth groups and young people to extend this inquiry to a community setting and include young boys' experience.

Faculty of Science

Dominic Potts, Christof Lutteroth (Department of Computer Sciences), Louise Shaw and Chris Dyer (Royal United Hospitals Bath).

Working with people with brain injuries such as stroke to co-design and prototype an exercise game (exergame) for movement rehabilitation.


Whilst we could not fund everyone who applied, we would like to thank everyone for their time. As part of our ongoing work, we've offered our support to those who are unsuccessful to help them develop their ideas and consider other funding opportunities.

We would especially like to thank the co-creation team of researchers (Dan Maskell, Alinka Gearon, Sarah Bailey and Richie Gill) and Isobel Michael from Southside Family Centre and Lucy Gilbert from Quartet Community Foundation for helping us shape the funding call.

The Participate Grants are funded through the University of Bath's Participatory Research funding allocation from Research England.

Dean Veall is Deputy Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath 

Posted in: Doing Public Engagement, Engage Grants, Leading Public Engagement


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