Why we've signed the Manifesto
“The University of Warwick has signed the NCCPE Manifesto because engaging with the wider world is what we do at Warwick. It’s at the core of our philosophy and our mindset. In particular, we see public engagement as a crucial enabler of our University 2030 Strategy. Public engagement helps us play a regional and national leadership role as a modern university. For us this means working with local communities to make a positive impact on people and places. It helps us innovate through the exchange of ideas between the university, business and wider society to enrich learning and innovation. Our work in public engagement also drives us to work inclusively, making sure that a much wider range of people take part in public discussion, knowledge curation and the generation of new, collaborative research. It also enhances the teaching experience we offer Warwick students, as well as contributing towards the development of new skills and greater employability. And, of course, it informs our research through collaboration and co-production, leading to more impactful research, and it gives us a genuine platform from which to play our part even more strongly in national and international debate, social, economic and policy development.”
Prof Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick
Our approach to public engagement
Warwick is a university that strives to be exceptional in everything we do. Our 2030 Strategic core purposes of Research and Education, as well as our strategic priorities of Innovation, Inclusion, Internationalisation and Regional Leadership, all focus around this commitment to excellence, and engagement is seen as a vital strand that weaves through all aspects of this strategy.
In the first Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) report we were delighted that Warwick was recognised for this commitment to engagement, and placed in the top 10% of English higher education institutes for “Public and community engagement”, and the top 20% for “Working with business.”
A distinctive strength of our university has always been our relevance to society, and particularly our close links with business and industry. For example, WMG and Warwick Business School are recognised as international role models for how universities and business can successfully work together, demonstrated by our close association with business such as Jaguar Land Rover and Tata.
More recently we’ve taken huge strides to ensure we are equally committed to how we engage with public and community audiences. Coming off the back of our learning as a RCUK Catalyst Seed Funded Institution in 2015-2017, our role as hosts of the British Science Festival in 2019, and being a principal partner in Coventry City of Culture 2021, the university launched the Warwick Institute of Engagement (WIE) in November 2020. WIE was created to capitalise on our commitment to engagement and its role in meeting our 2030 goals. It does this both by working to improve how the University involves the public, communities, key influencers, and decision makers in our pursuit of knowledge and understanding, and by improving the ways the university communicates its story and value to these groups. In so doing, WIE enables the university to engage more profoundly and sustainably locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
One of the key strengths of WIE is its dual leadership and structure. The institute has both an Academic Director and a Professional Services Director and combines professional services staff from the university’s previous public engagement team with academic colleagues within its core team. In addition, WIE has also recruited members of the university’s professional services and academic staff, as well as crucially UG and PG students, as Fellows of the Institute, who participate in a number of learning circles run by WIE focused on different aspects of public engagement. This approach brings together practical and theoretical engagement know-how with new insights and specialist expertise to generate best practice. At the same time, the Institute’s structure allows a deeper reach across all the University’s faculties and departments enabling stronger partnerships and collaborations. In 2022, WIE has also welcomed its first cohort of Regional Fellows composed of people who play important community roles within our region and who can contribute to the development of WIE public engagement strategy to ensure that the university continues to be as active a community partner as it can be.
In just one year the institute has: supported over 400 members of staff through training, launched a new undergraduate public engagement module, embedded engagement into multiple programmes that enhance our students’ experience at Warwick, launched new funds to support collaboration and co-production, recognised and rewarded public and community engagement activity by our staff and students, recruited over 145 members of staff and students to be Institute Fellows, and delivered 94 live events to almost 10,000 people – all against the backdrop of a pandemic. We’re hugely excited to see what we can do in the next 12 months and beyond.
Name: Michael Scott
Title: Academic Director – Warwick Institute of Engagement