University of Leicester

Why we've signed the Manifesto

"We think a university should be about empowering people to explore what they don’t know; through passionate, dedicated teaching and innovative, world-changing research. The Times Higher Education applauded our very different approach, describing us as 'elite without being elitist'. Leicester is the only top 20 university to exceed benchmarks for widening participation.

We value making our high quality work accessible and inclusive. This approach naturally extends to the importance that we place on engaging with the public, and making what we do accessible to the benefit of society.”

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice Chancellor, University of Leicester

Our approach to public engagement

At the University of Leicester we commit to engagement with the public in four important ways:

  1. Making our high quality, inspirational teaching accessible. Our CPD opportunities for teachers, employer links and our extensive part-time and distance learning provision enable a wider range of people to access higher education. Our outreach activity provides work with our community of schools to raise aspirations and achievement and to ensure that teachers, pupils, parents and carers are equipped to make positive choices about higher education.
  2. Making our high quality research and thinking accessible. We do this through a vast number of public lectures and through Leicester Exchanges – our online debate blog where anyone can comment on the thoughts of, and interact with, our academics on important issues such as ‘Is Britain broken?’. Our Innovation Partnerships project offers holistic, practical support from ‘idea to implementation’ stages to help SMEs in the East Midlands work more efficiently and productively by utilising new knowledge and technologies in the design, engineering and manufacturing processes. 
  3. Making our high quality staff and students accessible. Our student volunteering projects give back to the local community and form an integral part of the development of our students’ employability skills. Our staff are also encouraged to volunteer in a Right to Read scheme, and our academics regularly act as consultants to business and industry – helping them improve and innovate their products and services. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships help business solve specific problems by placing a graduate with the relevant knowledge and expertise into the company for a period of 1-3 years. 
  4. Making our high quality facilities accessible. For example Embrace Arts, the University’s multi-use inclusive arts centre, which, amongst the offering of many performances, exhibitions and courses, particularly encourages engagement in the arts by people with disabilities. Each year the University’s Botanic Garden hosts over 10,000 primary and secondary school children from all over Leicester and Leicestershire, who come to enjoy a learning experience outside the classroom; activities are devised in collaboration with schools. An annual sculpture exhibition attracts 30,000 visitors and regular open days also help to attract large numbers of visiting public. Our award winning Library has established a local history digital archive, ‘My Leicestershire’ working with a number of local history groups.  Our Science Departments offer a wide range of activities for school students including Space School (organised by the Physics Department), Spectroscopy in a Suitcase (organised by the Chemistry Department) and DNA Day (organised by the Genetics Department). 


Name: Jackie Dunne

Title: Director of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester