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Civic University Agreement

Newcastle University pledges its commitment to the community

Published on: 12 February 2019

Newcastle among 30 universities to sign new Civic University Agreement

Making a difference

Newcastle University has pledged to put the economy and quality of life in the local community top of its list of priorities.

The institution has committed to produce a Civic University Agreement in partnership with local government and other major institutions.

The new agreement is a key recommendation in a report published this week by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake. Newcastle University’s Emeritus Professor John Goddard acted as Vice-Chair of the Commission.

Newcastle is proud of its reputation as a civic university, dedicated to using its research and teaching to make a difference to society locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Excellent work

Among its local projects, the University is a partner with the city council and L&G in the Newcastle Helix, a sustainable urban development bringing together industry leaders, businesses and top researchers. The University works closely with Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, which runs the much-loved Great North Museum: Hancock and the Hatton Gallery on its behalf. The institution is working with the Newcastle United Foundation to make higher education more attractive to young men from non-traditional backgrounds. The Vital North Partnership, a strategic alliance with Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books is helping to build the city’s reputation as a centre of excellence for children’s literature. Student volunteers contribute to many community projects and graduate business start-ups add to the vibrancy of the local economy. 

Over the past five years Newcastle City Futures has realised  the civic university by bringing together businesses, the public, academics and the public sector to consider the challenges facing the North East. It has organised events for 145,000 people and facilitated over £12m of partner projects across Newcastle and Gateshead.  Cities around the world including Sydney, Hong King and Groningen, have been inspired by its work and are adopting similar models to manage future change. 

The Civic University Commission report aims to help universities build on the excellent work many of them are already carrying out in these areas, working alongside councils, employers, cultural institutions, schools and further education colleges.

Professor John Goddard has spent many years studying the role of the universities in the community. He said: “The recommendations of the Civic University Commission build on many years of experience in Newcastle of the University working with partners in the city and region to enhance economic, social and cultural development in the round.

“From my work as an advisor to many universities and governments around the world, I know that Newcastle is seen as a pioneer in such collaborative endeavours. This experience will now be written in the Civic Agreements that a number of UK universities have agreed to prepare with their partners and which the Commission hopes will be supported by an advisory hub.”

Our commitment

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University said: “Newcastle has always been very proud to be a civic university. It’s at the heart of everything we do. We are about to launch the University’s new engagement and place strategy which will further demonstrate our commitment to our community.”

Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, Pat Ritchie, said: "Newcastle is blessed with two outstanding universities which make a significant contribution to the region.

"In particular, Newcastle University's academics are world renowned and its students are part of the very fabric of our city.

"With the city council, it is helping Newcastle acquire an international reputation for scientific research reflected in the development of the Helix site which is attracting investment and creating jobs.

"But it also contributes so much socially and culturally, supporting our galleries and museums such as the Great North Museum: Hancock, and adding to our social diversity, making Newcastle one of the UK's most friendly and welcoming cities."


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