UNIC4ER – the Engaged Research programme of UNIC

Linking up with the broader focus of UNIC on inclusion, impact, and mobility, UNIC has developed a research and innovation structure around the core concept of ‘engaged research’. Engaged research offers an interdisciplinary approach and method for systematic knowledge production for society, but also with and within society. The UNIC partners will support our researchers to carry out engaged research by providing a range of support structures and services, including strategic guidance, skills matching and development, strengthened relationships with city partners and stakeholders, seed funding for collaborative initiatives, an open science campus and structured monitoring and improving our engaged research systems.

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A UNIC European Engaged Research Strategy

The UNIC Engaged Research Strategy creates a unifying framework for research policies and systems that puts the engagement and involvement of citizens, civil society, and public/cities at the heart of delivering excellence in research and innovation for societal impact. It embeds engaged research as a central and key model of practice for a European University of the future that is inclusive and responsive to society. This first ever European Engaged Research Strategy will be underpinned by leadership commitment marked by a new Joint Declaration signed by UNIC University and City Leaders.

The development of the Strategy addresses the need for building coordinated European infrastructure and conditions for Engaged Research to develop and flourish. The process is creating dialogue, common understanding and a commitment to best practice Engaged Research. It is raising awareness, capacity and a common ambition for more democratic forms of knowledge production. It is also identifying the practical actions needed to build common policies and systems across the eight Universities. The Strategy development process includes bringing together the research and innovation arenas of the eight Universities and Cities in an Engaged Research Strategy Forum, a mapping exercise appraising the current policies, practices, initiatives and structures that support engaged research, and various consultations with our university and city partners.

For more information on the European Engaged Research Strategy, please contact the UNIC4ER team at the University College Cork:

David O’Connell » D.OConnell@ucc.ie

Martin Galvin » Martin.Galvin@ucc.ie

The Engaged Research Community of Excellence

We are bringing together engaged researchers from junior to senior level from all faculties across our UNIC institutions. Through the establishment of this Community, we are facilitating the collaboration of the engaged researchers to initiate new research ventures, or scale-up existing research initiatives, to jointly address societal challenges in post-industrial cities.

Through UNIC4ER, our researchers will benefit from a range of trainings, mutual learning and networking activities as well as knowledge, exchange and dissemination opportunities (e.g., seminars, workshops and conferences). We also offer support schemes and toolkits to facilitate the undertaking of sound engaged research and will continue to actively disseminate best practices of engaged research

from our partner institutions. 

Recognising the need to promote superdiversity within the research community, the UNIC4ER community of excellence will particularly promote opportunities for non-traditional researchers with diverse migratory, socio- economic or socio-cultural backgrounds.

Keen to join the Engaged Research Community of Excellence? Let us know, by reaching out to Engaged Research Officers at the Koç University.

Nilay Kavur » nkavur@ku.edu.tr

Banu Liman » bliman19@ku.edu.tr

UNIC Meets the City and the UNIC Centre for City Futures

To strengthen the boundary space between UNIC and our post-industrial cities, engaging citizens and co-creating strategies to achieve truly European collaborative opportunities, UNIC partners are building an Engaged Research Infrastructure. This UNIC4ER Meets the City framework is based on Local Engaged Research Roadmaps and has been set up to reinforce cooperation with non-academic actors as well as involve citizens, civil society and public/cities authorities in research and innovation. It includes opportunities for researchers to initiate joint collaborative initiatives, including the development of new research initiatives, joint acquisitions or the scaling-up of existing research activities. Seed funding may be provided to stimulate the undertaking of joint collaborative initiatives.

Alongside the research infrastructure, the UNIC Centre for City Futures has been launched. Whereas the UNIC4ER Meets the City framework provides the approach to fostering and assisting engaged research initiatives, CFCF will provide the research infrastructure for such collaborative initiatives to be put into practice. This Centre recasts research interactions between

researchers, city authorities, citizens (e.g., students) and other stakeholders, to create regional integrated problem-solving research partnerships demonstrating how university and city collaboration can become a motor of post-industrial transitions. The Centre forms a truly European co-creation structure that connects teams from across all UNIC partners and cities.

Interested in learning more about the opportunities offered under the UNIC4ER Meets the City Framework and the CFCF?

Please contact Engaged Research Officer, Sari Hirvonen-Kantola unic.info@oulu.fi at the University of Oulu.

The UNIC4ER Open Science Campus

Building on our Engaged Research Strategy, we are actively promoting open knowledge building and sharing on engaged research through the development of an UNIC4ER Engaged Research Platform. This platform provides an open resource of engage research produced in the context of UNIC. This platform takes shape in the form of a UNIC4ER Open Science Campus, embedded as part of the UNIC Virtual Inter-University Campus. It brings together the work on engaged research, as all as making this work more searchable and accessible. The platform also offers an interactive space for collaboration and discussions on engaged research, as well as dedicated Open Science trainings, supporting the Engaged Research Community of Excellence and the Meets the City Infrastructure.

The UNIC4ER Open Science Campus is currently under construction and will be available soon. For more information, please contact Marko Jurić (marko.juric@pravo.hr), Engaged Research Officer, from the University of Zagreb.

Showcasing our results and impacts: The UNIC4ER Pulse Dashboard

The UNIC4ER research and innovation structure is seen as a self-learning system. Therefore, we are systematically monitoring and evaluating the application and impact of engaged research throughout the programme. Using advanced qualitative as well as quantitative techniques, we capture and analyse data on a variety of indicators of impact of our engaged research approach. In the spirit of open and democratic science, this data will be constantly displayed in a dedicated UNIC Pulse Dashboard for Engaged Research. The data from this dashboard will be systematically analysed to identify lessons learned, promising and good practices, allowing us to continuously adjust our approach to engaged research.

The UNIC4ER Pulse Dashboard can be viewed here

You can also stay informed of all developments by signing up to our UNIC Newsletter or following our social media.

Engaged Research: Declaration, Strategy, Mapping

How to develop research to benefit society is at the heart of Engaged Research. While engagement means different things to different people, all agree on the underlying principle of benefit to society, and co-creating and developing innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

The documents below comprise UNIC4ER's "toolkit" for Engaged Research, a collection of good practices and foundational strategies. Click through to learn more about each and download full PDFs:

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