Our research has clear benefits for society and we think it is important that we share what we do in as many different ways as possible. We also value feedback - the public challenge, enrich and broaden academic thinking, and projects that have been defined and researched in partnership with the public invariably result in greater impact and relevance.
Our public engagement events include:
Public Lecture series: Our highly successful lectures provide members of the public with a more intimate and focused opportunity to hear about the University's cutting edge research. Academics explore their niche subject in more detail than is often presented on a public platform and ample time is given for discussion and Q&A. Our lectures regularly attract audiences of over 400.
Café Scientifique: a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. You don't need to be a scientist to enjoy the event - just an open and enquiring mind. Cafe Scientifique is supported by the University and the Thames Valley Branch of the British Science Association.
Museums and Special Collections: The University is home to three museums offering a range of exciting, interactive and educational exhibitions, admission is free. We receive around 30,000 visitors each year.
The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is dedicated to the spirit of the English countryside and its people. The largest of our museums and a national centre for research and information, it explores life and work in the countryside over the last 200 years.
The Cole Museum of Zoology houses one of Britain's most important zoological collections. It contains 3,500 specimens of which about 400 are on display at any one time.
The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology contains Britain's fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics. Fabulous displays of pottery, extraordinary metal and stone artefacts and antiquities provide a unique insight into ancient history.
Special Collections are our collections of rare books, archives and manuscripts which are available to the public. Two of our collections have been recognised as being pre-eminent collections of national and international significance - the Beckett Collection, the world's largest collection of resources relating to Samuel Beckett, and the combined records of British publishing and printing.
Outreach: Outreach is an important part of our work. It enables us to educate and help a wide range of people - not just our own students. Our researchers regularly go into schools to work with children and we host a number of school visits throughout the year to different departments.
We also run summer schools on campus each year for Year 12 students in particular.
Blogs: Many departments within the University have their own blog sites, talking about their research. The University also has its own dedicated site for all research and actively invites comments: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/the-forum/welcome-to-the-forum/
Media engagement: Our researchers regularly appear in both national and local media talking about their projects and also provide expert knowledge to programme makers and journalists.
Knowledge transfer: The University's Knowledge Transfer Centre leads one of the most successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership programmes in the UK. It promotes and manages knowledge transfer activities between companies, charities and academic experts at the University.
Manifesto for Public Engagement
The University has signed up to the Manifesto for Public Engagement, drawn up by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement:
"We believe that universities and research institutes have a major responsibility to contribute to society through their public engagement, and that they have much to gain in return.
We are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.
We are committed to developing our approach to managing, supporting and delivering public engagement for the benefit of staff, students and the public, and to sharing what we learn about effective practice."