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What is Public Engagement?

 Family enjoying an engineering experiment at Heritage Quay

Public Engagement is the term used in Universities to describe ways that Higher Education Institutions connect with the outside world.

The University of Huddersfield splits these activities into seven types:


Public access to facilities

The Public can find out more about booking spaces at the University here

Heritage Quay is also available for booking by the public. Enquiries should be directed to or 01484 473168 

Public access to knowledge

This can include publishing (including open access), media appearances, public lectures, concerts and more. 

It can also mean public involvement in research (see below)

The University will be launching an events page very soon sharing some of these opportunties to hear about our research.

Student engagement

This can include student volunteering; experiential workshops; collaborative research projects; curricular engagement; student-led activities.

Staff engagement

This can include a wide range of activities, including community advisors (a good example of this is the Public Partnership Group).

It also means;

  • Staff volunteering outside working hours e.g., on trustee boards of local charities. If you are planning on joining a board you should speak to your line manager.
  • Promotion policies that reward social/community engagement;
  • Public lectures
  • Alumni services.


Widening Participation

The Schools and Colleagues Liaison Team and other parts of the Unviersity undertake work to improve recruitment of students from non-traditional backgrounds through innovative initiatives such as access courses and peer mentoring. Some examples of that work are available 


The University's 2019-20 Access and Participation plan can be found here

Encouraging economic regeneration and enterprise in social engagement

This can involve research collaboration and technology transfer; meeting regional skills needs and supporting SMEs; initiatives to expand innovation and design; business advisory services; prizes for entrepreneurial projects.

Institutional relationship and partnership building

The University is interested in collaborative community-based research programmes responsive to community-identified needs. This type of activity also includes community-university networks for learning/dissemination/knowledge exchange; community members of boards of governance; public ceremonies, awards, competitions; events, conferences with public access and public concerns.

Public Engagement at Huddersfield

The central organisation for public engagement in the United Kingdom is the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

Their website is a rich resource for PE, with case studies, reports and resources available. The University of Huddersfield was one of the first signatories of the NCCPE's Manifesto for Public Engagement which gives some great guidance about good practice and principles for public engagement. These are expanded on in the University's exisiting Public Engagement with Research strategy

A lot of public engagement work is directly linked to research and helps with our submission to the Research Excellence Framework. You can find out more about that here


Public Impact and Engagement Club 

PIE Club is an informal network open to all staff and postgraduates at the University. You can find out more about it here



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