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Universities & Public Engagement


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EUA focus group hosted by the Open University of Catalonia
Barcelona, 19 January 2018.
By Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik
Policy Coordinator,
European University Association (EUA)

Published in: Education
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Universities & Public Engagement

  1. 1. Universities & Public Engagement EUA focus group hosted by the Open University of Catalonia Barcelona, 19 January 2018 1© EUA 2017 Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik Policy Coordinator, European University Association (EUA)
  2. 2. 2 • Established in 2001 • Non-governmental membership organisation • More than 800 individual university members • 34 National Rectors’ Conferences Members • 47 countries • Independent voice of the university sector • Forum for exchange, peer learning for members Brief Profile of EUA
  3. 3. 3 Public engagement of universities - why this topic? • Mainly publicly funded universities need to be accountable to society, show their added value; • Increased focus on impact of research on society; • Post-factual politics and emerging distrust in science; • Digitalisation opens up opportunities to make research accessible to non-expert audiences; • Fast changing labour markets and an increased need for high skilled people; • Continued massification, increasing diversity of society; • Raises questions about the role of universities in society • Universities need to open up, engage, interact with society at different levels & in various ways
  4. 4. 4 What is public engagement? "Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit." (National Coordination Center for Public Engagement UK) “A mutually beneficial knowledge-based collaboration between the higher education institution with the wider community, through community-campus partnerships ...” (Campus Engage, Irish Universities Association)
  5. 5. 5 “Engagement as a two-way process opposite to communication or outreach.” “Societal engagement is focused on involving civil society groups and less structured stakeholders such as neighbourhood groups or ordinary citizens” “Public engagement is about involving citizens in the decision-making process or in the research process itself.” (Engage 2020 project)
  6. 6. 6 Who is the public? University Citizens Policy makers Business, industry NGOs, associations Schools, pupils Local communities …..
  7. 7. Where to engage them? Source: EUA Focus group applications
  8. 8. Public engagement & research Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach: • Involving society in science and innovation ‘very upstream' in the processes of R&I to align its outcomes with the values of society. • A wide umbrella connecting different aspects of the relationship between R&I and society: public engagement, open access, gender equality, science education, ethics, and governance. • A cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020, the EU Programme for Research and Innovation 2014-2020.
  9. 9. Trends 2018. Question 28: At your institution, does inclusiveness and social engagement have any impact on learning and teaching? Please select one option per line. (n=288) Public engagement & learning and teaching
  10. 10. Public engagement & university governance Source : EUA University Autonomy Scorecard 2017 • In most systems across Europe universities include external members in their governing bodies. • These are typically: public bodies (local, regional or national), chambers of commerce, the business sector in general, other research & higher education institutions.  One way of ensuring interaction with society and respond to public accountability requirements
  11. 11. 11 UK Public engagement & professionalisation - Exchange of good practices on public engagement; - Professional development & training courses for staff working on public engagement; - Development of common principles and tools Ireland European level
  12. 12. 12 • Explore the topic and understand how universities frame it; • Facilitate a European discussion and identify common issues; • Provide a space for peer learning and exchange for members; • Find out about concrete institutional strategies and practices that go beyond single projects and take a more comprehensive approach; • Develop ideas on if and how EUA could further explore the topic to serve its members Aims of the focus group
  13. 13. 13 Questions for discussion: Drivers: why do you think it is important for your institution to engage with society and the public? Is this something new for your institution or do you do it for a long time? Are there any incentives or political requirements for universities to do this (e.g. funding)? Target groups: how do you define the “public”? Who are your main target groups? Strategy: how does your institution deal with public engagement in a strategic way? Is there an institutional vision for public engagement, and/or are there specific priorities and goals? Main activities: what are you concretely doing? Please briefly illustrate a concrete project/activity. Burning question: what would you like to know from the other participants?
  14. 14. 14 Join us at the EUA Annual Conference on “Engaged and responsible Universities shaping Europe” 5-6 April 2018, hosted by the University of Zurich, Switzerland Registrations are open until 19 March. Early bird fee until 28 February! More info on the website
  15. 15. 15 Sources: Campus Engage Project, IE: Engage 2020 Project: European University Association (EUA), 2017, University Autonomy in Europe III – The Scorecard, by Bennetot Pruvot, E. & Estermann, T. (Brussels, EUA). European University Association (EUA), 2018, Trends 2018, forthcoming (Brussels, EUA). National Coordinating Center for Public Engagement, UK: OECD (2017), OECD Employment Outlook 2017, OECD Publishing, Paris. RRI Tools: March for Science:
  16. 16. Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik ǀ Policy Coordinator @AnnaLenaKulik 16