Academic institutions have shown an increased interest in the so-called third mission to offer an impactful contribution to society. Indeed, public engagement programs ensure knowledge transfer and help to inspire positive public discourse. We aimed to propose a comprehensive framework for academic institutions planning to implement a public engagement intervention and to suggest potential indicators to measure its impact. To inform the framework development, we searched the literature on public engagement, the third mission, and design theory in electronic databases and additional sources (e.g., academic recommendations) and partnered with a communication agency offering non-academic advice. In line with this framework, we designed a public engagement intervention to foster scientific literacy in Italian youth, actively involving them in the development of the intervention. Our framework is composed of four phases (planning/design, implementation, immediate impact assessment, and medium- and long-term assessment). Impact indicators were subdivided into outcome variables that were immediately describable (e.g., changed understanding and awareness of the target population) and measurable only in the medium or long run (e.g., adoption of the intervention by other institutions). The framework is expected to maximize the impact of public engagement interventions and ultimately lead to better reciprocal listening and mutual understanding between academia and the public.

A practical framework for academics to implement public engagement interventions and measure their impact

Busch, Isolde Martina;Savazzi, Silvia;Bertini, Giuseppe;Cesari, Paola;Guaraldo, Olivia;Nosè, Michela;Barbui, Corrado;Rimondini, Michela
2022-01-01

Abstract

Academic institutions have shown an increased interest in the so-called third mission to offer an impactful contribution to society. Indeed, public engagement programs ensure knowledge transfer and help to inspire positive public discourse. We aimed to propose a comprehensive framework for academic institutions planning to implement a public engagement intervention and to suggest potential indicators to measure its impact. To inform the framework development, we searched the literature on public engagement, the third mission, and design theory in electronic databases and additional sources (e.g., academic recommendations) and partnered with a communication agency offering non-academic advice. In line with this framework, we designed a public engagement intervention to foster scientific literacy in Italian youth, actively involving them in the development of the intervention. Our framework is composed of four phases (planning/design, implementation, immediate impact assessment, and medium- and long-term assessment). Impact indicators were subdivided into outcome variables that were immediately describable (e.g., changed understanding and awareness of the target population) and measurable only in the medium or long run (e.g., adoption of the intervention by other institutions). The framework is expected to maximize the impact of public engagement interventions and ultimately lead to better reciprocal listening and mutual understanding between academia and the public.
co-creation
critical thinking
framework
implementation science
knowledge transfer
public engagement
public understanding of science
research impact
scientific literacy
third mission
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1079891
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