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We help universities engage with the public

Why is it important?

A public lecture by Karel Leky, part of  a project run at the University of Bangor exploring Jewish Life in North Wales

In this section we explore the rationale for public engagement, and the evidence that underpins it. We make the case in three different ways.

1. It brings significant benefits to universities and to the public

It’s possible to make the case for engagement by detailing the various impacts and benefits it generates. We’ve described those benefits in terms of:

  • The impact on your university
  • The impact on your staff and students
  • The impact on civil society

Find out more about the benefits of public engagement and the supporting evidence.

2. Funders and policy makers expect universities to do it

Even though we are living through a period of great economic stress, public engagement remains a priority for the funders of higher education, with the clear expectation that in return for their funding universities can demonstrate:

  • How your research impacts on the public and wider society
  • How your university generates 'public benefit'
  • How your students are helped to 'make a difference' and to thrive in the world beyond university 

We explore the policy context – including the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research, and the role of public engagement within the impact agenda – in the Policy Drivers section.

3. It helps universities adapt to a changing world

Universities are under increasing pressure to respond to external agendas, and to ‘re-invent' themselves to meet the needs of wider society. Public engagement puts universities on the front foot, demonstrating a proactive approach to:

  • Accountability and transparency
  • Trust and licence to practice
  • Relevance
  • Responsiveness

Find out more about how public engagement helps universities address these challenges in the changing world section.