One trend in public engagement concerns involving the public in research priority setting. In this study members of the public were asked to select which of four potential projects (about food-related topics, presented by scientists) ought to be funded. The aim of the study was twofold: to trial and evaluate a method of engaging with the public about science, and to study the factors used by the public in making funding allocation decisions. Results suggest that, while participants enjoyed the process and appeared to learn from it, they were not particularly “representative”—a common problem with engagement approaches of this type. Results also suggest that participants' funding decisions were largely based on factors such as “benefit to society” and “personal relevance,” though aspects such as the “likeability” and “trustworthiness” of the speaker may have played a role. Implications for involving the public in funding policy decisions are discussed.
public engagementmutual learningcitizen scienceco-creationinclusionscientific impactinterdisciplinaritysocial valuemotivation for engagementmethodologyresults sharingunpredictable group dynamicsemotional aspects