Building bridges between academia and society
Lunchtime seminar on the key challenges and opportunities faced by Higher Education Institutions as they strive to fulfil their third mission, i.e. civil engagement: (L-R) Catherine O’Mahony (CARL), Anna Kingston (CARL), Béatrice Korc (University of Lyon), and Melodié Faury (Univeristy of Lyon)
"While the University supports the development of researchers, there is little effort to make them aware of, or engage them in, society’s 'grand challenges'".
This was the argument made by Béatrice Korc, Director of “Science et Society” Department of the University of Lyon, who is engaged in pioneering work in France to develop cultural bridges between research and society. Béatrice and her colleague Melodié Faury shared their experiences of how they are re-directing and re-focussing postgraduate students’ ideas of what research is and of their role as researchers.
The seminar, organised by UCC’s Community-Academic Research Links (CARL) initiative, attracted a diverse audience of postgraduate students, coordinators of postgraduate programmes, and representatives across UCC’s four colleges. It addressed the key challenges and opportunities faced by Higher Education institutions as they aim to fulfil their civil engagement mission, identified in the recent National Strategy for Higher Education (2011), and also explored how the professional skills and future employability of students could be enhanced by students undertaking community based research and engaging in "Science (Research) and Society" professional training.
UCC’s Community-Academic Research Links (CARL) committee are currently involved in developing and piloting a 5 credit Public Engagement in Research (PER) module, which will focus on providing undergraduate and postgraduate training for students who wish to undertake community based research projects at UCC. It is envisaged that this module will be used by lecturers, course coordinators and programme directors who wish to engage students in community based research/learning in order to enhance their professional skills development, to meet the needs of the local community, and to enhance the University’s civic engagement activities.