University of Strathclyde

Our approach to public engagement

Public Engagement sits at the heart of our mission as “A place of Useful Learning”, and our approach reflects our values of being: People-oriented; Bold; Innovative; Collaborative; and Ambitious.

Our definition of ‘public engagement’ is inclusive, encompassing activities to widen access, volunteering and mentoring, as well as public engagement with research. This has stemmed from a philosophical viewpoint, that our institution should work for the benefit of society, and that these areas are intrinsically linked.

Strathclyde has developed a number of University-wide platforms from which research colleagues can further develop PE activity. These platforms are centrally managed, large scale, annual events, including Explorathon, Images of Research and Engage with Strathclyde, through which we support colleagues to engage with the public.

Our public engagement hallmark

Island Explorers

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to ensure a cleaner, fairer, safe and more prosperous world and society, by 2030. We believe that empowering 'Generation 2030' in the SDGs is critical in addressing global sustainability challenges. It is with this belief that a new Strathclyde programme, Island Explorers, was developed, inspired by the SDG research of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, with support from the Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland (YESC).

Island Explorers is aimed at 4 Primary School levels (P4-P7, ages ~8-12years). Each level explores a different island (Hawaii, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Great Cumbrae, Reunion Island), with a partner school on that island, and is exposed to an island specific sustainability challenge (marine litter, energy, food security, coral reefs and marine biodiversity). Pupils are challenged to develop technological or creative solutions to the challenge their island is facing. By using islands as geographical context, Island Explorers allows pupils to explore real-world sustainability challenges in a fun, multidisciplinary way, bringing together geography, social-sciences, STEM, and entrepreneurship, while building international youth networks. Piloted in 2018, Island Explorers has now been adopted by YESC as a core offering to Primary Schools in Scotland.

Our public engagement talking point

At Strathclyde, we believe that Public Engagement is fundamental, not only to being a socially progressive institution, but also in ensuring that the research we do is socially responsible. The work we do here has an impact on the communities around us as well as the wider world, and should also reflect and address the main issues in our global society. Engaging with the public is a necessary step to using the tools we develop to solve real world problems and make meaningful change.


Suzanne McEndoo, Public Engagement Coordinator