Thank you for sharing this page.

Venue web

EUA Focus group

Universities and Public Engagement

EUA is organising a focus group for university practitioners across Europe to discuss how to articulate and implement strategies for public engagement on 19 January 2018.

Hosted by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Barcelona, Spain

19 January 2018

  • Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.
    (Working definition of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement in the UK)



    The European University Association (EUA) is organising a Focus Group for university practitioners across Europe to discuss how to articulate and implement strategies for public engagement. 

    Universities need to be open. They have both the capacity and the obligation to play an active role as major civil society actors in their own right. Research and higher education have an increasingly direct impact on society, and universities must interact and engage in a dialogue with citizens and stakeholders in society at large.  

    Universities have been effective in involving the larger public in their activities for a long time now; the ‘ivory tower’ is long gone, and the concept of impact is becoming more and more important. The more universities become active as societal actors, the more they will be engaged openly and willingly in debates at the local, national, and global level for instance with employers, municipalities, or schools, in order to support skills development and foster innovation. This can take many forms, such as initiating dialogue around curriculum development and content, raising awareness of global challenges, and opening up the research and innovation agenda through ‘citizen science’, all of which can demonstrate how universities are a strong voice for evidence and knowledge in a time of ‘alternative facts’.

    How do institutions across Europe engage strategically in sustaining a positive dialogue beyond their institutions? What are the good practices, where are the risks and pitfalls? The Focus Group on Universities and Public Engagement offers an opportunity to share practices and experiences among university leadership from all over Europe.


    EUA invites university practitioners from across Europe with experience in developing and implementing institution-level strategies for public engagement and dialogue with society to exchange and share their views on these important issues. The purpose of the focus group is both to explore how universities are dealing with these issues, and to provide a forum for peer learning and sharing of good practices. The outcomes of the discussion will also be used to feed into further development of EUA policies and activities with members. 

    The focus group, conducted in English, will be a one-day event built around open discussions between all participants. Key questions will be sent in advance and participants should be prepared to contribute actively to the discussions. 

    The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 25, and applicants shall be selected according to the criteria specified below. The event is restricted to staff from EUA member institutions.

    There is no registration fee, and participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Meals and refreshments on the day of the event will be provided free of charge to participants. Applicants should not make any travel arrangements before they have officially been selected for participation. Participants selected to take part in the event will receive additional practical information in due course. 

    Selection criteria

    Applicants will be selected based on their experience in public engagement and their motivation to attend. Special consideration will be given to ensuring a geographical balance as well as a diversity of experiences and institutional profiles. Applicants should have a coordination function at their institution (vice-rector or similar). 

    Submitting your expression of interest

    For more information, please contact

    To submit your expression of interest, please click here, fill in the application form and do not forget to click on the red button at the end.

    The deadline for applications is 17 November 2017

    We strongly encourage you to submit your application to participate as soon as possible. 

  • The EUA focus group will be hosted by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona, Spain. 

    The UOC is an innovative university that is rooted in Catalonia and open to the world. It offers people of all ages lifelong learning to help them, and society, advance, while carrying out research in two particularly important areas: the information and knowledge society and e-learning. Its educational model is based on personalization and student mentoring via e-learning. 

    Founded in 1994, the UOC is an institution created within the knowledge society. It offers top-quality distance education and is a world leader in research and the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to education. It is a university that provides a public service but with a private management model. The UOC forms part of the Spanish and Catalan public university systems and is a member of the leading international university networks.

    The UOC has a special focus on engagement within its strategic plan. In both its main missions, training and research, the UOC promotes quality relationships between university and society.  

    Logo UOC


European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96