On 28 October, we launched the Engaged University Strategy, which sets out how we will support, stimulate and promote public engagement with research across our global campuses. We were delighted to welcome Dr Ellen Meek and Dr Nik Ogryzyko from UK Research and Innovation who discussed how public engagement is prioritised within their new R&D Roadmap, and the benefits for researchers.
Setting out our strategy
Since its establishment as the world’s first Mechanics’ Institute in 1821, Heriot-Watt has been a place where people from all walks of life can gain an education aligned with the needs of businesses and society. This founding ethos of providing accessible learning to people of all backgrounds remains highly relevant today and is integral to our vision of an engaged university for the 21st Century. In our recently published Prospectus for Recovery and Future Growth, we commit as a university to supporting the global recovery efforts in relation to Covid-19. As society rebuilds, we will maximise opportunities for innovation, solve significant issues and drive impactful socioeconomic benefits through the commitments and actions laid out in the prospectus.
Central to this is our Public Engagement strategy and over the past two years we have been working closely with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, to understand university culture and the role of universities in a global and local context. The knowledge from this research has fed into this Engaged University Plan, which will shape our Public Engagement priorities over the course of Strategy 2025.
This strategy embeds our four guiding values – inspire, collaborate, belong and celebrate – into our mission to benefit society, and engage with those impacted by our research. Through the implementation of this strategy we aim to have a positive influence on the communities where we are located, shaping tomorrow together to deliver benefits for all of society.
Professor Richard Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor:
"I am delighted to launch the Engaged Research Strategy for Heriot-Watt University.
"The strategy sets out how we will achieve our vision to inspire and understand the mutual needs of our global and local communities, providing measurable pathways to worldwide impact through our pioneering research. Our strategy is based on an ardent desire to be shapers of the future to provide confidence to society in choices that need to be made."
Professor Garry Pender, Deputy Principal, Research and Innovation:
"Engaging the public with our research is of increasing strategic importance for higher education and research and innovation, to strengthen relevance, responsiveness, and accountability, and to build trust. Although it is a difficult time for universities and wider society, it is still crucial that we have a positive influence on the communities where we are located, ensuring our research is relevant and benefits all of society.
"We will make our University welcoming and accessible to all, developing activities and interventions that maximise the flow of knowledge and ideas between our researchers and publics. This will help our research community better frame and understand why our work is so important."