Centre for Public and Policy Engagement

Actors performing Breaking the Silence at St John’s Church Hillingdon

Ideas that improve lives

The Centre for Public and Policy Engagement (CPPE) was established to support academic communities build partnerships with policymakers and the public so that research and education at the University of Essex can improve people’s lives.

The CPPE brings together diverse public and policy engagement expertise across the university to address local, national and international challenges and maximize our impact on society, the economy and the environment.

  • Fosters a culture of engagement across the University and helps our academic community to understand the value of engagement and the partnerships we can build beyond our University.
  • Improves how public and policy engagement is coordinated across the University to maximise opportunities.
  • Builds capacity by providing training, resources and support for our researchers to engage with policy makers and the public whilst raising our national and global reputation for using research and scholarships to create societal benefit.


The CPPE focuses on a wide range of social, economic and environmental challenges aligning with research priorities across our three Faculties and world-leading Centres and Institutes. Our mission is to show how ideas can improve lives, and how research can improve local, national and international policy for societal benefit.

Explore our research


How Public Engagement Improves Lives: Principles, Typology and Evidence (.pdf) by Jules Pretty

Blue-Green Regeneration for Seaside Communities and Coastal Ecosystems (.pdf) by Jules Pretty and Phil Ward


CPPE Engagement Fund

The Centre for Public and Policy Engagement (CPPE) Engagement Fund supports Essex academic and research staff to explore opportunities to engage public and policy audiences with their research. Small grants are available to support travel, engagement activities and events, which will target specific audiences from the public, policy and third sectors, and produce tangible impacts.

Find out more and apply for funding
Public Voice Scholars
Public Voice Scholars

The University of Essex is unveiling 15 new Public Voice Scholars to champion research that improves people’s lives.

Find out more about the scholars
“The purpose of Public Engagement in universities is to ensure research and education leads to improvements in people’s lives. An engaged university plays a direct role in helping to transform social and ecological systems, helps shape societal values on higher education institutions and policies. But this is the thing. Public Engagement is not easy. It means giving up some apparent status and power, often acquired after many years of training and learning knowledge and norms. It means recognising and then abandoning a paradigm that defines expertise in a particular field as inhering in only certain individuals. It means adopting a mode that values the knowledge and understandings of all people in a system. For universities, Public Engagement suggests the need for a new form of civic and public compact. This is how we work, this is how we make things better, this is how we develop and teach students, this is how we will engage with you to make changes you will consider as improvements.”
Jules Pretty Director of the cppe
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Centre for Public and Policy Engagement