Public engagement (PE) activities have become a regular feature for several research institutions in Europe. However, while research and teaching functions can count on established indicators, PE functions are often performed as a sort of “goodwill exercise.” Few studies have focused on defining appropriate indicators and standards, particularly at the organizational level. An exploratory study was carried out on a sample of 40 European research institutions with a view to understanding whether the diffusion of PE activities has led to incorporating the PE perspective into “routine” activities of organizations. The results point to quite unequal performances among European research institutions. Also, while most research institutions examined have dedicated resources for PE activities, the study suggests that such activities are not yet considered essential. Performance indicators and standards might prove of great support for institutions and policy actors that wish to take seriously the challenge of public engagement and societal dialogue.
public engagementmutual learningcitizen scienceco-creationinclusionscientific impactinterdisciplinaritysocial valuemotivation for engagementmethodologyresults sharingunpredictable group dynamicsemotional aspects