News and Views

UCC joins eight European Universities in signing Historic Declaration on Engaged Research

16 Jun 2022
Professor John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC (front row, fourth from left) holding the historic Joint Declaration on Engaged Research signed by members of the UNIC joint European University of Post-Industrial Cities at a summit in the City of Oulu, Finland.

University College Cork (UCC) has joined seven universities and cities from across Europe in signing a historic Joint Declaration on Engaged Research in the City of Oulu, Finland.

The commitment seeks to develop a common approach to engaging communities and their cities in advancing research and innovation to make a difference in people’s lives, as part of UNIC - a joint European University of Post-Industrial Cities.

The Declaration, a first for Europe, champions ‘Engaged Research, which is an approach that involves local people and communities, NGO’s and Municipalities, working together with Universities to collectively decide on what is to be researched and involving societal partners in all stages of the research process.

This grassroots-up approach leads the way in bringing Europeans together across different languages and borders, to participate as active members in shaping flourishing, compassionate, enlightened societies, and sustainable economies, informed by the power of research and evidence.

Speaking at the signing of the declaration in Oulu, Professor John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation at UCC said:

We are extremely proud to lead the coordination of the UNIC engaged research declaration. Engaged research is critical for creating a sustainable and diverse future for us all.

Professor Ed Brinksma, Rector of the University of Rotterdam, said:

Meaningfully involving people in research and innovation is key to the long term success of our cities and universities. Today, in a first of its kind in Europe, this Declaration on Engaged Research marks a pioneering step for realising the ambitions of the EU Commission’s European Education Area and the European Research Area. 

University students and staff, municipalities and civil society partners attended an Engaged Research Strategy Forum in January and again in March 2022 in University College Cork, Ireland. There they worked together on developing the text for the Declaration, making this a truly collaborative initiative. The next step is the development of a Strategy for Engaged Research, launched later this year in Rotterdam.

Mayor of Liège, Willy Demeyer:

This Declaration is an important milestone for cities and universities in Europe. It is the first time that as a group we have developed such a joined up commitment to our communities. This historic initiative will have relevance, resonance and impact across Europe for many years to come.

UNIC is one of 41 European University alliances funded by the European Union. UNIC’s focus is on teaching and research through community engagement, with an ambition of creating inclusive and sustainable societies. UNIC is creating an inter-university campus, where students, staff, researchers, and city partners will study or carry out research at cooperating partner institutions and municipalities.

Formed in 2020, UNIC is an alliance of UCC and the following partners:

  • Belgium Université de Liège, City of Liège
  • Croatia Sveučilište u Zagrebu, City of Zagreb
  • Finland University of Oulu
  • Germany Ruhr- Universität Bochum, City of Bochum
  • Spain Universidad de Deusto, City of Bilbao
  • The Netherlands Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, City of Rotterdam
  • Türkiye Koç Üniversitesi, City of Istanbul

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF