Research

Strategic Aim One:

Picking research that delivers

Strategic Aim Two:

Research to people

Strategic Aim Three:

Going global

Strategic Aim Four:

Supporting scientists

Engagement

We have a duty to engage with the public and other groups, to give an account of our research and to ensure that public views and concerns are reflected in our decision-making.

Objective

To enhance engagement and communication with our scientists and partners, policy-makers and parliamentarians, and the public.

Now

Our engagement and communication activities make our research more accessible to many different groups of people.

  • We seek public input when reviewing major public health and translational research investments, and ensure that the public is actively engaged in key areas, for example on the use of patient data through the Farr Institute for Health Informatics Research.
  • We help the public understand our scientific findings and assess the impact these may have on their own lives, on the economy and on society as a whole through direct access to our scientists at events, and by providing understandable information online and in the media.
  • We support the need for evidence-based policy and decision-making through the timely provision of accurate, up-to-date information on policy-relevant topics. We provide expert advice and information about our research, and share the results and impacts of our work.
  • We work with partners to improve our effectiveness and our value for money, sharing best practice and maximising the use of resources.

Future

Communication channels have proliferated in recent years, allowing people to access the information they want or need via a variety of routes and at times that suit them. We need to be able to work in this ever-changing environment in ways that are flexible and responsive to the dynamic nature of research and society, at the same time increasing awareness and understanding of the MRC and the impact of our research.

Our approach will:

  • Support the strategic needs of the MRC by focusing on areas where we can make the greatest impact, for example by supporting our strategies in medical bioinformatics and partnerships with industry and charities.
  • Deploy our resources cost-effectively.
  • Leverage support through partnerships and collaborative working.

How

The MRC will:

  • Explore current and emerging digital technologies to communicate with groups through the channels they prefer in a cost-effective manner.
  • Understand and reflect patient and public views on important topics using a range of mechanisms for public dialogue and consultation.
  • Work in partnership with charities to garner patients’ perspectives on our work, and to use these to make our research more meaningful.
  • Work with industry, biotech and other companies to showcase our partnerships with them and ensure that we are aware of their needs.
  • Work with colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to demonstrate the relevance and value of our work to all Government departments.
  • Deliver value for money and share best practice and resources by working collaboratively with our many partners, particularly Research Councils UK, the Association of Medical Research Charities and other medical research funders.
  • Enhance and extend our engagement with the public by providing resources for researchers to communicate with the public, and rewarding and recognising them for doing so.

Making an impact: MRC scientists inspire a new generation

Researchers at the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh collaborate with nearby Broughton High School by sharing images and stories about research, and giving talks about life as a scientist and careers in science.

Dave Cockburn, Faculty Head of Science at the school, said of the partnership: “This relationship has been extremely valuable for the staff and the students. The percentage of students taking two sciences in 2009/2010 was 16 per cent. In 2010/11 we continued with the project and the percentage is now 40 per cent. These figures speak for themselves and they would suggest the talks have helped to get more students studying two or more sciences.”