COLLABORATION

UPP receives government funding for Civic University Network

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The UPP Foundation has received an additional £50,000 government funding to establish the Civic University Network.

The UPP Foundation has received additional £50,000 government funding to establish the Civic University Network, which allows universities to bid for funding to host networking initiatives that drive civic university agenda.

The additional funding boost from the Department for Education (DfE) raises the winning bid to host the network to £125,000. This includes the original £50,000 and £25,000 contributions from the UPP Foundation and Carnegie UK Trust respectively.

The additional government funding has been granted to the UPP Foundation and the winning institution will receive the seed funding from UPP to host the Civic University Network.

“The contribution from the Department of Education (DfE) shows a clear indication of the priority being placed on the economic, social and cultural role universities play in their towns, cities and communities,” said UPP Foundation Director, Richard Brabner.

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Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Chris Skidmore stressed on the pivotal role universities play in their local economies and business strategies, as well as in improving productivity and social mobility.

He strongly believes that the additional £50,000 government funding to establish the Civic University Network, will help improve the relationship between universities and their communities, as well as facilitate best practices between institutions.

He added that, “Universities drive innovation and economic growth and are cultural centres in our local communities, which is why their civic engagement is a central priority for me and the Government.”

The Civic University Network aims to further build on the initiatives of the highly successful UPP Foundation Civic University Commission. This commission was greatly lauded by Skidmore and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner.

The commission published recommendations in February last year on how best to strengthen the link between universities and their local areas.

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The culmination of the year-long commission was a pledge from 58 universities to develop the Civic University Agreement (CUA). As a result, these agreements will help form strategies that are entrenched in solid findings of local needs and opportunities.

These agreements are co-signed by local authority partners, the National Health Service and institutions of further education. The main role of the Civic University Network is to champion the strategies developed based on the agreements.

The Civic University Network will mainly work with CUA signatories across the UK, to share best practices including supporting the agreement signatories by hosting events, publishing reports and toolkits to guide the development and implementation of the agreement.

The network will also develop a peer-review model, by working with institutions to develop indicators of quality and good practice. This will subsequently be used to develop an agreed self-evaluation and peer review model which is based on a similar scheme in local government. This review mechanism will guide universities to expand and increase the impact of their civic role.

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Subsequently, the network will also act as a policy advocate for the civic university agenda. This is particularly important given the broad and varied nature of the civic role within higher education.

In addition to this, the network will also be responsible to plan for and seek funding. This is to ensure that the network prioritises sustainability so that it can continue to operate beyond the lifetime of the seed funding.

The deadline for proposal submission is by 5 pm on 30 January.