Two UK higher education and research institutions have been awarded gold and silver Engage Watermarks, recognising their strategic support for public engagement. The Engage Watermark is a charter mark for universities that assesses their support for public engagement across all aspects of their work, and the awards were made at the Engage Conference 2019.
York St John University has been awarded a silver Watermark award, and the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science has been awarded a gold.
Applying a rigorous assessment involving staff and students from across their campuses, and partner organisations working with them, the Watermark award recognises the strategic support for public engagement across each organisation, as well as the plans to develop this work in the future.
Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science: Gold Award
Sophie Duncan, Director of NCCPE said, “We are delighted to be able to award the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science a gold Engage Watermark. The Centre has a vibrant, energetic and focused approach to public engagement with excellent and committed leadership and support. Public Engagement is in their DNA – and is resulting in a distinctive and transformational approach to doing research that is making a really important contribution to the criminal justice system in Scotland and beyond.”
Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of LRCFS, said, “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award, which recognises our vision to promote the importance of engagement between the entire justice community and the public in promoting an understanding of the science, and its limitations, behind the forensic evidence presented in our courts.”
Dr Heather Doran, Public Engagement Manager for LRCFS, said “The whole team, research and non-research, staff and students have embraced public engagement and their commitment enables the Centre to involve society in the work we do and it is fantastic to see that recognised by the NCCPE.”
York St John University: Silver Award
Paul Manners, Director of NCCPE said, “We are delighted to be able to award York St John University a silver Engage Watermark. YSJU is a values-led institution, which prioritises social justice, so public engagement comes easily and its contribution to the mission of the institution is clear. YSJU is “in and of the city” of York, and staff and students are empowered and committed to undertaking public engagement work, and to working in partnership to make a real difference”.
Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of YSJU said “In this detailed submission, we evidence the significant progress we are making in the level of support we give to public engagement. Across the whole University there is a strong commitment to sharing our expertise with others whilst also learning from the communities we serve. We believe that in our region we are a beacon of excellence in the support we offer to public engagement. At all levels of Leadership at the University there is a high level of institutional commitment to further improve the excellent work we are doing in public engagement.”
And Professor Andy Smith, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at YSJU said, “Building on this award and the lessons the process has given us we will now be enhancing our work in Public Engagement specifically through the creation of an Institute of Social Justice. Which clearly demonstrates the University’s ongoing and sustained commitment to PE.”