Public Engagement Fund

As part of a wider public engagement strategy with a range of activities, Research Data Scotland (RDS) is announcing a pilot public engagement fund.

This fund is for projects in Scotland that engage with people on data research: to help the public understand the use of data in research, the benefits, and how it works.


About The Fund

RDS is committed to playing an active role in public engagement. This is a pilot fund to test interest and proposed projects.

The aims of the fund are to: 

  • Promote the public understanding of data research in Scotland 
  • Provide balanced information on data research
  • Widen participation by involving and engaging members of the public who may not usually interact with science to take an interest and have a voice in data science
  • Achieve clear and measurable impact

We are particularly interested in applications that will help improve understanding of the use of data in research to audiences that would not otherwise be aware of it, and/or creative ways of engaging with people.


Who Can Apply?

We are open to receiving applications from a range of organisations. Eligible organisations must be based in Scotland and include:

  • Public involvement/engagement professionals and/or researchers at accredited research organisations 
  • Registered charities
  • Schools
  • Museums and libraries

How Much Funding Is Available?

We intend to award funding for projects between £1,000 and £10,000. We expect to award £40,000 in total but may consider awarding more than this if there is sufficient high-quality interest. We would be open to having informal discussions with people interested in making applications, including for sums greater than £10,000, so we can consider this in the round for the pilot and future activities. 

We will not cover capital costs, but we are otherwise flexible as to what the money is spent on. We will cover up to 100% of the Full Economic Cost (FEC). It can cover all reasonable expenditure including: materials; creative tools or content development; salary costs; travel and subsistence; equipment and/or facilities or event space; reasonable payments to public contributors; other reasonable costs; and management (up to 15%). All spending and reporting must be completed by 30th September 2023.


Key Dates

The timeline for the pilot fund are as follows:

  • Open for applications – Monday 30th January 
  • Applications close – Friday 24th February 
  • We will review applications and inform applicants about the outcome – Friday 10th March
  • RDS will monitor and review impact and undertake an evaluation of the impact of the pilot fund – Q2-Q4 2023

How To Apply

To apply, please complete the online form below, alongside a financial resource request.

Click here to download the financial resource request spreadsheet.

Please email your financial resource request document to once completed.

If you're unable to view the application form embedded below, please click here.


If you have any queries about the pilot public engagement fund, or would like to discuss our public engagement plans, please contact We will respond to your message as soon as possible.