Stephen Fry Public Engagement Awards application guidance

Updated on 7 July 2023

This guide describes the conditions and requirements for applying to the Stephen Fry Awards

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The University of Dundee are delighted to announce details of the 2023 Stephen Fry Awards for Public Engagement. These awards are open to everyone who works and/or studies at the University. Partnering organisations can be included in the team award. They recognise the work of our staff and students in engaging non-academic audiences with the University’s work.

Award winners receive a trophy and can access up to £1500 of funding to support their public engagement activities.


Any current member of University staff or enrolled student may apply.

Scope of the Awards

These awards recognise the different aims and outcomes we have when working together to help deliver the best outcomes for individuals, communities, organisations and businesses.

Engagement activity is likely to contribute to at least one of the following objectives:

  1. sharing what we do (inspiring, informing, changing attitudes & behaviour, and building capacity
  2. creating and applying knowledge together (collaborating, considering and creating)
  3. learning from others (consulting)

The University is particularly keen to receive nominations from students and Professional Services staff.

We also welcome nominations of collaborative projects across and between our Schools and Directorates.


In 2023 there are three categories of Stephen Fry Public Engagement Award.

  • The 2023 Public Engagement Project of the Year is awarded to a team who have made outstanding contributions to public engagement with the University. People from partner organisations can be nominated as part of the team.
  • The 2023 Stephen Fry Award – Engaged Early Career Researcher of the Year is awarded to a research postgraduate or member of research staff who has excelled in engaging non-academic audiences and organisations with the University’s research.
  • The 2023 Stephen Fry Award - Engaged Researcher of the Year is awarded to a member of staff who has shown excellence in engaging non-academic audiences and organisations with the University’s research.

Please indicate on the Application Form your chosen category. The Stephen Fry Awards selection panel will contact nominees if they feel an application would be better placed in an alternative category.

Deadline for applications

Applications must be received by 12pm on Friday 9 December 2022.

Defining Public Engagement

In the UK, public engagement with Higher Education is supported by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). The University of Dundee supports and adopts the National Co-ordinating Centre's inclusive definition of public engagement, and applies this to the Stephen Fry Awards:

“The many different ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.”

National Co-ordinating Centre's inclusive definition of public engagement

Evidence of the mutual benefits of the engagement work are crucial aspects to include in your application. Benefits to our staff and students may include: skills development, enhanced confidence, understanding processes of engagement and learning that develops practice, scholarship & research.


The awards are open to all current staff or enrolled students at the University of Dundee.

Public Engagement Project of the Year category

The Public Engagement Project category encompasses all of the four different approaches to our engagement outlined and described in more detail in the University’s Public Engagement Strategy.

  1. Engaged Education
  2. Engagement with Research
  3. Social Responsibility
  4. Knowledge Exchange

Engaged Early Career Researcher category

This category is open to all research postgraduates, including research masters students and staff on Research contracts.

Engaged Researcher category

Academic and academic-related staff should be nominated in the Engaged Researcher category.

Winners of individual Stephen Fry Awards in previous years are not expected to apply.

Information to include in supporting information

Your application should cover details of the activity, outcomes and the benefits of your public engagement work within the past two years. Evidence of work before the two year period can be included but will not form the basis of the selection panel’s decision.

All applications should include the completed short application form.

To apply you can complete the first page of this form, and then share information on your public engagement work in writing over two sides of A4, or submit a video of yourself/team talking about your public engagement work. Both methods of submission will be treated equally.

How to submit a video submission

Video submissions can include illustrations, diagrams, and video content produced by yourself or the project. You must have the rights to this content.

Video submissions should be recorded in landscape format and be watchable on Windows Media Player.

To record a video in Teams:

  1. Create a new Teams group with the person/s recording as the only member/s
  2. In the top right-hand corner of the Teams App press on Meet now
  3. In the meeting click on the three dots on the top menu bar and choose “Start recording”
  4. To stop the recording click on “Stop recording”
  5. Go to the Teams channel and click on posts. After your recording should appear here within an hour.
  6. Click on get link and share this with before the deadline indicating which application the submission relates to.

How to submit a written submission

Send no more than two pages of A4 (Arial font, size 11, normal margins) to indicating which application the supporting information relates to.

Written submissions can include diagrams and links to sources quoted in document.

We recognise these forms of submission may not be accessible to all. Please contact us at to discuss submission options.

Evaluation criteria

All applications will be reviewed using the following the criteria:

  • The breadth and depth of benefits for audiences and stakeholders
  • The breadth and depth of benefits for the applicants

The selection process

Applications will be considered by a selection panel including members of the University, public engagement professionals, and members of the public, who will select a shortlist.

Shortlisted applicants may be asked to meet with the selection panel and discuss their application between 1421 December 2022. This is an opportunity for the panel to ask you questions about your engagement work. Following the shortlisted meeting the selection panel will decide upon the winners in each category.

Award winners will be contacted on or before the 22 December 2022. The winners of all categories will be invited to receive their award and present their work at the 2023 Discovery Days on 12/13 January 2023.

In addition to the award winners the selection panel can also commend applications, where they feel the contribution to public engagement is outstanding. Recipients of commendations are informed at the earliest opportunity and will be acknowledged during the 2023 Discovery Days.

Guidance for Stephen Fry Award Winners

  1. We ask all Stephen Fry Awards winners to deliver a 15 minute presentation on their public engagement at the upcoming Discovery Days.
  2. The University would like to showcase the work of our Stephen Fry Award winners as exemplars of public engagement. We ask all awardees to engage in this process by contributing a Case Study on their award winning work by 31st July 2024, and by participating, when invited, in at least one University organised activity, focussed on celebrating and sharing your achievements.
  3. Stephen Fry Award winners can access up to £1500 of funding to support their future activity and/or professional development in the area of public engagement. Award-winners wishing to access this funding will be asked to complete a project plan to be shared with the selection panel by 16 June 2023.
    Members of the selection panel will discuss and agree on the project plan with the award winners.
  4. We understand that some elements of funded projects may run in to the next financial year i.e. after July 2023. All Stephen Fry Public Engagement Awards funding must be transferred to the award winners by 30th April 2023.
  5. Award winners who receive funding are required to complete a short project report on the funded work.

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