The "Factors affecting public engagement by researchers" project suggests that the embedding of public engagement in institutional cultures is best understood as a 'work in progress'. There are positive indications in the project outputs that public engagement is increasingly part of the landscape of higher education and research institutions, and that participation in and value placed on public engagement has increased in recent years. At the same time, the research suggests that researchers and institutions remain uncertain about systems of rewards for public engagement, within the context of a profession that is driven by research (and teaching). The project suggests that public engagement is more firmly embedded in the context of the arts, humanities and social sciences than it is among researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Wide-ranging research over a lengthy period shows that institutional change of this kind is highly challenging and that higher education institutions are known to be relatively slow to change. Within this context, the project indicates that, while recent and current strategies have been helpful, longer term effort -- perhaps targeted in particular domains -- is required.