24 May 2013
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has made an official pledge to share its expertise and resources with local and wider communities by signing up to a national programme funded by Research Councils UK.
UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor Dr Malcolm McVicar signed the Manifesto for Public Engagement on behalf of the University. The document publically declares the institution’s commitment to supporting staff that are actively involved in sharing their skills and knowledge with the public.
The Manifesto was created by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and has been signed by over 50 universities around the country. The document highlights the ways universities can make a positive impact on their communities.
UCLan has a long history of community engagement through festivals, exhibitions, student volunteer projects and collaborative research ventures with business. Last year’s free Lancashire Science Festival attracted over 5,000 visitors over three days and the University hosted the annual Corporate Games which brought over 4,500 people from around the country to the city.
"Engaging with the community is integral to what we do as a University."
Signing the Manifesto Malcolm McVicar said: “Engaging with the community is integral to what we do as a University. We are intrinsically connected to Preston, Lancashire and the wider region and UCLan has an important role to play in economic regeneration.
“By working with the wider community, from businesses to schools to policy makers, we are able to inspire people, share knowledge and also be reciprocal to what they can offer in return.
“UCLan prides itself on being an open and transparent institution that is accessible to all; this Manifesto demonstrates our long term commitment to this agenda.”
Over the last year UCLan has been involved in many projects working with partners on local, national and international levels.
"For UCLan to commit to supporting, recognising and rewarding engagement is a significant step forward for the University and this will have long-term benefits for our regional community."
By acting as an official training camp during the London 2012 Olympic Games, the University brought athletes from four Oceanic countries to the city to train and share their expertise with local school children.
The 24 Hour Bottle Rocket Challenge allowed UCLan to reach out globally. Over 2,000 bottle rockets were launched around the world to celebrate a joint research venture with NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre to capture the sharpest images ever taken of the Sun through the High-Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) Mission.
Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott, UCLan Public Engagement Manager, commented: “It is fantastic to have support for public and community engagement at institutional level. So often this type of activity is seen as additional rather than integral to research.
“For UCLan to commit to supporting, recognising and rewarding engagement is a significant step forward for the University and this will have long-term benefits for our regional community.”