Public Engagement Champions

The Public Engagement Champions were appointed because of their commitment to public engagement in research.

These champions they have led a variety of events, activities and workshops to encourage other academics to develop their public engagement programme.

Ruth Garside

Senior Lecturer in Evidence Synthesis

There are three parts to Ruth's role as a public engagement champion:

Maintaining existing activity - facilitating the Health and Environment Public Engagement (HEPE) group, which allows staff to get involved with public engagement in a structured way.

Enhancing current activity - advising and informing activities that respond to staff requests and by developing the HEPE website.

Promoting current activity and shared learning - organising presentations for colleagues across Cornwall to share information about HEPE as a possible model for public engagement in research. Ruth will actively seek meetings with colleagues involved in PE and seek to set up a network of those in Cornwall who can share experiences and support each other’s activities.

Phone: 01872 258148

Kath Maguire

Associate Research Fellow

As a Champion for Public Engagement, Kath will support Community Researchers in Cornwall to plan how to address a gap in service provision they have identified. This will include helping them to:

  • Identify their further research and information needs.
  • Access support from other researchers with expertise in health and training and advise them on project development as well as credible and reliable sources of information.
  • Access other student/staff volunteers willing to assist their project.
  • Develop their engagement with evidence.
  • Evidence their work and present it in local forums and university showcases as well as developing a presentation they could take to the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) conference next year.

Kath will share with students and colleagues public involvement and engagement tools and techniques, community development practices and inclusive and accessible ways of working.

Phone: 07791089434

Jonathan Memel

PhD Student - Centre for Victorian Studies

As Champion for Public Engagement with Postgraduate Research, Jonathan will build upon his time as a Catalyst Seed Fund holder to encourage more postgraduates in Exeter to pursue public engagement and to further support those that are already doing so.

He will share best practice with colleagues in the postgraduate community and the Catalyst network and will also act as a contact point for postgraduate public engagement through a variety of activities including:

  • ‘Drop In’ Public Engagement sessions.
  • Focus Groups for sharing/reflecting on experiences.
  • Visible endorsement at postgraduate events.


Julie Whittaker

Senior Lecturer in the Organisation of Markets, Business School

Julie’s research focuses on how business activity might be cultivated so that it supports rather than conflicts with the principles of sustainable development. She’s seeking to establish a Circular Economy Business Forum, which will convene business people and representatives from business support organisations (E.g. local councils, Chambers of Commerce), along with colleagues from various parts of the University, to discuss how we might work collaboratively.

As Champion for Public Engagement Julie will engage with Business School colleagues to seek their interest in participating in the co-creation workshops to give them not only the opportunity to share their expertise but also develop contacts with business that might enable their research.

Phone: 01392 723845

Joanie Willett

Lecturer, Politics

Joanie will spend her time as Champion for Public Engagement exploring the academic and public experiences of public engagement through the Creative Exchange programme. The Programme facilitated collaboration between artists and academics through ‘melting pot’ opportunities and provided funding for a number of small projects, including sustainable and ethical fashion, and beach waste and the marine environment.

Joanie will conduct one-to-one interviews with the academics and artists involved with three of the Creative Exchange projects and hold informal discussions with remaining project participants. She will also facilitate a seminar discussion group for all persons involved with the Catalyst Creative Exchange programme to talk about the internal learning that they got from the events and what they would like to see in future public engagement projects. Analysis of this data will form the basis of a report considering the internal learning that can be gained from the Creative Exchange public engagement programme, how the ESI can shape University public engagement strategy and how the ESI can be a beacon for public engagement with research.

Phone: 01326 253798