The University of Dundee is transforming lives in our city, region and around the world. These social and cultural benefits can only be realised by working with others and sharing and our research, teaching and professional practice. The pathway to realising these benefits is known as public engagement, and the University of Dundee is taking strides towards to embedding public engagement in all that we do.
Public engagement describes the many ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared beyond the University sector. We realise that the term 'public engagement' is interpreted in many ways by different people and we take some time here to share our what this means to us.
Public engagement is a two-way process that has mutual benefit for our staff & students, and our external partners and audiences. The University is committed to the highest standards of Public Engagement. We are proud to be a signatory of the Manifesto for Public Engagement.
In the UK's Higher Education sector, public engagement is supported by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). At the University, we support the National Co-ordinating Centre's inclusive definition of 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."
The reach and impacts of public engagement go beyond the public audiences that its name may suggest. Our Public Engagement and Major Events team, and colleagues in our Schools and Directorates engage with a diverse range of partners. These include community groups, school children & teachers, politicians and policy makers, business and our cultural partners. The NCCPE website features a good summary of Who are the public?
The University focuses on two major areas of public engagement activity. Cultural & Civic Engagement and Public Engagement with Research, each drive our vision of transforming lives in our local communities and across the world.
The University's Public Engagement Forum
Our Public Engagement Forum is a group of leaders and champions of public engagement from all of our academic Schools and our professional services Directorates. Chaired by Prof John Rowan, our Vice-Principal for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Wider Impact, the Public Engagement Forum first met in May 2018, and meets every two months. The Forum is action focussed and is leading the University's efforts to embed our already excellent public engagement activity in all that we do.
The Forum aims to
- develop a University Public Engagement Action Plan that states our vision and sets out the ways in which we support engagement with our community
- support the sharing and development of best practice between different areas of the University
- help the University of Dundee to become Scotland's most engaged University
Life Sciences Gold Watermark for Public Engagement
In December 2017, the University's School of Life Sciences were awarded a prestigious Gold Engage Watermark for its work in bringing world-class science to the wider community. The School is the first to receive the faculty Engage Watermark from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, demonstrating that they are a beacon of excellence when it comes to sharing the work they do with the wider community and show how public engagement has built substantial momentum over several years. In January 2018, in consultation with staff and students, the School of Life Sciences published their Public Engagement with Research Strategy.
Why we support and encourage engagement
- The Moral Case – Civic Responsibility
- The Business Case – For University's this may generate additional income and motivate their staff and students. Public engagement supports the professional development of our staff and students, improving the quality of their teaching and research. Public engagement can improve the recruitment and retention of staff and students. Public engagement also helps ensure that young people are attracted to research-based and academic careers.
- The Academic Case – inspiring learning, empowering individuals, influencing policy and helping to generate prosperity
You can read more reasons to get involved in the following:
- Wellcome's report on Factors affecting public engagement by researchers,
- RCUK's publication What's in it for me? The benefits of public engagement for researchers and
- Vitae's publication The Engaging Researcher (registered users only).