Higher education institutions face increasing pressure to ensure their research, knowledge and teaching involves, and benefits, their communities. Many are reassessing how they create and share knowledge, striving to work more inclusively and collaboratively with a range of communities – including voluntary and civic, industry, policy, arts, culture, and the public - to maximise the value of their work.
How universities engage with communities is recognised by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Engage Watermark - a charter mark awarded to universities for excellence in their support and practice of public engagement across all aspects of their work.
Following a rigorous assessment process, the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, a research centre at the University of Oxford, has been awarded a Silver Watermark. The assessment involved staff from across the research centre's three departments, and its partner organisations.
The Watermark process was an excellent catalyst for us – an opportunity to take stock and carefully consider our next steps in our drive to make our research as relevant to society as possible. We look forward to including a greater number of stakeholders in our research in a way that is meaningful and impactful, and produces research results that benefit everyone. This Silver Award was also an affirming opportunity to better understand what is already working well for engagement at our Centre, and to celebrate the hard work and commitment of our colleagues.
- Carinne Piekema, WIN's Public Engagement Manager
The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN) is working to ensure breakthroughs in laboratory neuroscience have a meaningful impact for human health. It was clear that public engagement is core to this vision, and strongly supported at every level of the Centre.
The Watermark assessors were impressed by WIN's highly skilled public engagement team and creative programme of activities to involve people in brain science. WIN's external partners also really valued their collaborations. They described staff as open and approachable, and appreciated how well they listened to feedback and acted upon it.
Paul Manners, Co-director of the NCCPE, said: "We are delighted to award WIN a Silver Watermark. This award is a significant achievement and recognises the many strengths that we discovered during the review. There is strong and committed leadership, excellent professional support, and a very creative and innovative approach to engaging a wide range of people in brain science. The Centre has set out an ambitious action plan to build on these strong foundations and scale up the contribution public engagement makes to the Centre's research."