Cardiff University

Why we've signed the Manifesto

“As a university we’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our communities. It’s what we call our ‘civic mission’. This means we are committed to improving the education, health, wealth and wellbeing of the people of Wales. We have been delivering a civic mission to the people of Wales for well over 100 years. This commitment to our communities steers our values, work and identity.

“We have chosen to sign up to the manifesto to demonstrate publicly our commitment to engagement. We want our communities to be aware of our determination to work with them for mutual benefit. Equally, our students and staff should be aware that civic mission is a key part of our strategy. We are pleased to be able to sign the manifesto to commit to sharing engagement good practice and seeking to improve what we do.”

- Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor

Our approach to public engagement

We have placed our broader civic mission at the centre of our strategy alongside research, education, innovation and international. We value the efforts of staff and students who are contributing to our objectives in this important area of work. Where possible we seek to involve our research and teaching in our engagement so that we all benefit – communities, staff and students. We have a varied programme of engagement involving all our Colleges and professional services. Much of it is local but we also seek to engage communities on other continents too.

We have several long-running, award-winning projects that directly engage with communities. We have our Community Gateway project in the Cardiff district of Grangetown that is creating a new community hub alongside local people; our CAER Heritage project is involving research and education to create a new tourist attraction on the site of an iron age hillfort; the Phoenix Project is doing incredible work in Namibia in partnership with the University of Namibia in areas such as health, education, science and communications.

Our public engagement hallmark

The Pharmabees project is enriching the education of young people in schools 

A major part of our current approach involves trying to support teachers, pupils and schools. We are trying to influence policy, provide resources, enrich pupils’ education and raise aspirations.

One project is proving particularly adept at providing a broad programme of activities to engage young people – Pharmabees. Taking the honey bee as its model, it has developed a series of innovative teaching activities designed to inspire the next generation of Welsh scientists and entreprenuers. For example, young people learn how our researchers are working with honey bees to identify new treatments for antibiotic-resistant hospital superbugs. Pharmabees is also developing honey-based products in partnership with Welsh companies and is actively involved in community projects focused on promoting social cohesion through the creation of pollinator-friendly urban spaces.

Our public engagement talking point

We all know that public engagement has a major impact on the lives of the people who live in our communities. What is more difficult is measuring this impact, which can take many forms. How can we properly measure and communicate university engagement so that its value can be properly appreciated by everyone from the general public to staff and students to policy makers? 

Our public engagement people

Science in Health Live has been running for 25 years

A great example of a long-standing and important contribution is that of the Science in Health team. They are a group of individuals consisting of academic, professional service staff as well as PhD students. The work of the team delivers extremely effective secondary school engagement that aims to inspire the next generation of talent in the field of science and healthcare.

A vital part of this work is the Science in Health Live event which recently celebrated 25 years. This event annually attracts 800 year 12 pupils from across Wales to take part in tours, talks and activities around a biomedical theme. The team provide a unique insight into the latest biomedical research and scientific breakthroughs that have taken place in recent years, illustrating the wide range of career options that exist for science pupils. Over 10,000 pupils have taken part in Science in Health Live over the past 25 years.


Name: Kevin Leonard

Title: Civic Mission Communications Manager