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Civic University Network

Click here to read the thoughts of Des McNulty and John Goddard about the role of universities in supporting longer-term recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

The Civic University Network is a new hub to support universities across the UK which have committed to developing a Civic University Agreement (CUA).

The Civic University Network was one of the key recommendations from the UPP Foundation’s Civic University Commission, an independent inquiry into the future of the civic universities and how they can best serve their ‘place’ in the 21st century. 

The Network will support CUA signatories – developing strategies that are rooted in a robust analysis of local needs and opportunities – by hosting events, creating a peer-review scheme for civic engagement and support, and publishing reports and toolkits to guide the development and implementation of CUAs.

The Network will work to support the growing CUA movement so that universities increase their civic impact, and connect universities with other sectors which are prioritising issues around ‘place’ to level up the economy and society.

The Civic University Network host: Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University will lead the development of the Network alongside the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and The Institute of Community Studies (ICS), supported by network partners: University of Glasgow, University of Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London and the University of Birmingham.

The involvement of the NCCPE and The ICS will ensure that strong links are made to their extensive networks and expertise in engaging the public with research and knowledge exchange, while also supporting universities co-produce and implement Civic University Agreements with local communities.

You can read the press announcement about the launch of the Network here.

What next?

The Network – including website, resources and communication channels - is now being developed and an update will be sent to all CUA signatories in due course.

Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The first aim of the Civic University Network will be to encourage an impactful sector response to the spread of Coronavirus, while also recognising that universities will be under immense pressure in the coming weeks and months. This will involve issuing supportive guidance and best practice case studies to all universities, and providing opportunities for university civic leads to discuss and collaborate with each other and key sectors, such as the NHS and local government, on joint approaches.

The Network will be working with Universities UK, the NHS Confederation and other key sector bodies to develop this coordinated response to the challenges ahead. By facilitating a shared approach to the pandemic among all universities, the Network will aim to be at the leading edge of the sector’s long-term response to the economic and social challenges presented by Coronavirus.


The Civic University Network is funded by the UPP Foundation, Department for Education, Carnegie UK Trust, and Arts Council England.


For more information about the Civic University Network please email

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