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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

NCCPE Silver logoSolent University is committed to public engagement. Embedded within our 2025 strategy the University is proud to have secured the NCCPE Engage Watermark (Silver) in December 2022. The Engage Watermark is an award granted to institutions to recognise their strategic support for public engagement and their commitment to improve the support offered. Just as a watermark runs through the fabric of a document, an Engage Watermark indicates that engagement runs through the fabric of the institution.

Championed by our Vice-Chancellor, public engagement at Solent University is formed of two strategic priorities from the 2025 strategy, Engaging with our Communities and Research and Knowledge Exchange. Work is undertaken across the University by our staff and students and we are committed to working in partnership with our alumni, local community, business and global communities who form our definition of 'publics'.

"Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the publics. Engagement is a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.” National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

At the start of 2021 we signed the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement's (NCCPE) Manifesto for Public Engagement and have committed to working with NCCPE to review our current public engagement strategies, activities and staff support. This will enable us to enhance our public engagement in line with the principles of the manifesto.

Our approach aligns with the NCCPE’s perspective of what makes up an engaged University.

As a champion for public engagement at Solent, I have witnessed the strong history of working with our partners and communities to deliver our real-world curriculum and research. Contained within our new Strategy 2025, the University has published its commitment to working in partnership with our alumni, local, business and global communities to maximise the value of our work to wider society whilst fulfilling our commitments set our within our Civic Charter.
Our work with the business community and global research communities is driven through Knowledge Exchange, enabling economic or social benefit to the UK and beyond. From consultancy through to accessing government funding for staff, we are helping provide solutions for organisations through sharing our knowledge and expertise.
Our work with the local community as a Civic University is a key aspect of our public engagement. From offering space for community groups to meet on campus through to supporting local events such as Pride, we play an active role in Southampton and the Central South region. Over the next four years, we plan to grow engagement with our communities and exchanging knowledge.
Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer
I have been enormously impressed by the commitment shown by the University to making public engagement a defining feature of its new strategy. Work underway at the University – for instance to develop its civic charter – is of a really high standard. Colleagues across the UK will have much to learn from and be inspired by in Solent's approach.
Paul Manners, Co-Director of the NCCPE

Public engagement in action

People taking part in the Southampton Pride march

Public engagement is in our DNA here at Solent. Here are some examples of our current and past activities to engaging with our publics.

Engaging with our local community

Engaging with our business community

Driving economic and sustainable growth to:

Solent Productions

Solent Creatives

Engaging with our global research community

Wind rush mural for Black History MonthPublic lecture series

The University delivers a series of in person and virtual public lectures open to academia, the local community, business, and our global research community. You can listen back to some of our previous lectures, including how to measure happiness, and top tips to enhance your running performance, through our virtual knowledge hub. For our upcoming events, visit our events page, follow us on @SolentCivic on Twitter and sign up to our newsletters.

Supporting public engagement at Solent University

Our leadership of public engagement

Our Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for the Engaging with our Communities strategic priority, supported by External Relations.

Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya, Provost, is responsible for the Research and Knowledge Exchange strategic priority, supported by the Research Office.

Our committees

With public engagement in our DNA, we have created structures to support our work and enable collaboration across the University.

To support our commitment to working in partnership with the local community, the group brings together areas from across the University that play an active role in engaging with our local community. The Civic (Local Community) Advancement Group shapes future policies, partnerships and ways of working while ensuring that community orientated activity is formally reported on.

Members of the group are:

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Research Office
  • Lead for City of Culture
  • Head of Marketing and Communications
  • Access and Widening Participation Manager
  • Environment Officer
  • Head of Student Experience
  • Head of Student Engagement, Solent Students' Union
  • Head of Sports Programmes
  • Gallery Curatory/Exhibition Organiser, Showcase Gallery
  • Strategic Lead for Knowledge Exchange
  • Senior Communities Development Manager

The Research and Knowledge Exchange Group enables a cross-University approach to research and knowledge exchange. The group brings together teams who engage with research and knowledge exchange and who are responsible for driving forward the University's formalised strategy.

Members of the group are:

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange (Chair)
  • Academic Lead in Research (Deputy Chair)
  • R&KE Policy and Governance Manager
  • Senior Communities Development Manager, External Relations
  • Head of Marketing and Communications, External Relations
  • Strategic Lead for Knowledge Exchange, Department of Sport and Health
  • Strategic Lead for Research and Knowledge Exchange, Warsash Maritime School
  • Strategic Lead for Research, Department of Business and Law
  • Strategic Lead for Research, Department of Science and Engineering
  • Environment Officer, Estates and Facilities
  • Access and Widening Participation Manager, External Relations
  • Head of Student Experience, Student Services
  • Head of Student Engagement, Solent Students' Union
  • Lead for UoA #34 Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
  • Lead for UoA #20 Social Work and Social Policy
  • Lead for UoA #24 Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • Lead for UoA #7 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
  • PGR Co-ordinator, Department of Business and Law
  • Head of Specialist Facilities
  • Research Finance and Admin Officer (Clerk)

The University is committed to more effectively managing its relations with business to support business growth and development. The group shapes future policies, partnerships and ways of working with the business community.

Members of the group are:

  • Vice-Chancellor (Chair)
  • Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange (KE/Research Lead)
  • Director, Warsash Maritime School (Maritime Lead)
  • Chief Marketing Officer (External Relations Lead)
  • Deputy Head of Student Experience (Careers, Employability and Enterprise Lead)
  • Head of Apprenticeships (Apprenticeships Lead)
  • Head of the Department of Business and Law (Department Lead)
  • Head of the Faculty of Sport and Health (Department Lead)
  • Head of the Department of Science and Engineering (Department Lead)
  • Senior Communities Development Manager

Our external commitments

We are working with a range of partners and organisations in fulfilling our commitment to public engagement.

Manifesto for Public Engagement
KE Concordat
Drawing of a building with an anchor
Social Mobility
University of Sanctuary logo


Find out more

How to get involved and find out more

Solent staff and students

Join our Public Engagement Network

All our students, staff and academics have a role to play in public engagement at Solent University and our impact on our publics. The Public Engagement Network is open to everyone internally to engage you with our plans for public engagement, seek your views and opinions, and share best practice across the University.

Any student, staff member, or academic interested or involved in public engagement is encouraged and welcome to join the network.

Get in touch with key members of staff:

  • Jonathan Ridley, Associate Provost Academic Strategy
  • Mike Toy, Senior Communities Development Manager, Lead for Local Community and Business Engagement

Business community

Visit our one-stop-shop for enabling business growth and development. If you're unsure where to start, why not tell us a bit about your business and the challenge you are looking to address. One of our business advisers will then get in touch to discuss how we can work together.

Find out more

Local community

Visit our community pages or send us an email with your idea.

Global research community

Visit our research pages or send us an email with your idea.

What do we mean by civic (local community) engagement and civic university?

A civic university is an institution that has a place-based strategy about how it connects to its local city area and local community. Universities and their communities build mutually beneficial relationships for the public good in order to maximise the civic impact of universities in their place.

Find out more

What do we mean by knowledge exchange?

Knowledge exchange (KF) is a process which brings together academic staff, users of research, and wider groups and communities to increase the impact of research. The process encourages the sharing of ideas, data, experience and expertise which is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. 

Find out more

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