Mapping Policies, Strategies, and
Initiatives Supporting Engaged Research

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.

To assess the state of Engaged Research at each of the eight partner universities, UNIC4ER has mapped current institutional practices, policies and initiatives supporting engaged research across each partner institution. This mapping serves as the basis for the engaged research strategy and Declaration on Engaged Research.


There is strong potential, evident in the mapping for UNIC via UNIC4ER, to be the place in Europe for engaged research that influences and shapes the Urban policy lifecycle in collaboration with society, that is alongside societal stakeholders, in understanding and investigating issues of public interest. Horizon Europe Research and Innovation policies across Europe, including the Green Deal, actively promote and support engaged research and innovation for policy and practice change. Producing rigorous scientific engaged research evidence to inform EU and governments policy and practice, builds trust with diverse local and national communities and stakeholders, facilitates participation of traditionally under-represented, or marginalised groups in policy research, design and implementation, and results in better implementation, support and impact of public policies.

Engaged research is a complex agenda in a complex landscape. This mapping exercise has shown that making progress requires concerted action on the part of a number of actors, specifically the universities, but also in tandem with our cities, civil society, national and EU actors, and funders; each group needs to better understand the domain of the other. We are at a starting point, but there is a need to engender a structural dialogue. That is, to make progress on a meaningful engaged research agenda, action needs to be initiated, in these distinct but overlapping and interrelated spaces: in the research community itself, within local, national and EU government, civil society, and in the research funding agencies. We must grow and design the connective tissue which enables them to come together to engage positively with UNIC European University engaged research ambition and mission into the future.

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