Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Knowledge transfer at the heart of communities


“The University of Bradford’s approach to community engagement is based on it being embedded throughout the University as a whole and supported at the highest level,” says Steve Skinner, Director of Community Engagement at the University of Bradford.

Speaking at the AURIL conference in Birmingham, Skinner told delegates that the University’s work in community engagement is based on key principles. Bradford has a track record of matching University initiatives with community needs, and the principles of community engagement are now being embedded in all the University Schools.

The University’s success in engaging with communities and widening participation is in evidence through its large number of students from underrepresented groups. In 2002/3, 46 per cent of first degree entrants were from traditionally under-represented groups, compared with the national average of 28 per cent.

“We decided against a bolt on initiative,” says Skinner. “At Bradford, once the University had decided at a strategic level to aim to be ‘at the heart of its communities’, it took the time to thoroughly assess how it could do this and what the deliverables would be. This was done through a research project involving consultation with staff and partner organisations within the Bradford district. It was clear at the outset that the initiatives needed to be sustainable.”

HEIF 2 money has been used to fund the new Director of Community Engagement post, six Community Associate positions across the eight academic Schools, a dedicated Administrator and a centrally located Communications Officer.

Projects are co-ordinated by a new Centre for Community Engagement which as Director Skinner heads and include a range of initiatives, such as MBA students offering specialised consultancy support in marketing or business planning to local micro businesses.

Other initiatives include third year students at the School of Informatics working with voluntary organisations, social enterprises and businesses in a pilot project to offer multi-media support, such as website design, promotional films and re-branding. The University’s staff development services are also being opened up to voluntary organisations, organised jointly with a voluntary sector training provider.

In an effort to bring more new people on to its campus, the University is increasingly hosting local community conferences; a recent one involved over seventy ethnic minority groups.

“There is much good work to build on from the last few years and in the new Centre we hope to learn from other’s ideas and experience, says Skinner. “ I believe the key is to work in partnership with communities and local organisations, rather than parachuting in. Where possible the University organises projects in conjunction with existing agencies and voluntary organisations, and only when we can add value from a University setting.”

“Bradford’s high profile initiative has been down to the University taking community engagement to its heart and now establishing the Centre and the Community Associates as channels for communication and a resource to support initiatives and projects.”

“However, there’s a clear need for an agreed definition of successful community engagement in the University sector. Our next goal is to evaluate and define community engagement in HE by measuring the economic and social impact we’re having here in Bradford. This will be a year long project, undertaken by a part time research director and full-time researcher, and we intend to make the new assessment model available nationally.”

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>