NETWORKING STRATEGIES IN RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS: SOME EXAMPLES

Networking is often part of broader universities’ public engagement or science communication programmes. However, autonomous networking programmes and strategies have been in some cases developed aimed at specific objectives. They can be used to progressively favour a societal engagement with science and society. Different cases are summarised below.

  • The University of Edinburgh developed a networking programme including relationships with different kinds of groups, including: NGOs focused on arts (such as Impact Arts, working with children, young people, older people and communities, or ASCUS, a non-profit organisation committed to bridging the gap between arts and science), civic society groups (such as the Edinburgh Active Citizen Group), theatrical groups (the Stand Comedy Club and the Bright Club Scotland), science centres and museums (the National Museums Scotland, the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh) and political institutions (the Scottish Parliament).
  • The Open University in London, in the framework of its networking action, established a partnership with the Hackney Carers Network, to promote options for further study by carers working with disadvantage people and communities.
  • The University of California – San Francisco established a University-Community Program aimed at defining and implementing collaborative projects. Agreements and partnerships have been created with 32 community based organisation working in different fields, including protection and promotion of minority groups, health, education, gender inequality, poverty, social exclusion, and LGBT rights.
  • The University of Greenwich’s Family Care and Mental Health department established a partnership with the Greenwich-based Metro Centre on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to improve the services available to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community.
  • The University of Westminster, together with other six London-based universities, established the Health Network, aiming at actively linking up with community groups to undertake different activities that would directly benefit these communities and could perhaps be applied elsewhere. Projects included access to heritage sites for the less mobile, managing stress in school children and a study on well-being in seniors aged 60 or over living in the community.
  • The Lehigh University, based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, developed a wide partnership programme involving some 20 different local organisations, ranging from CSOs, industrial associations, community-based groups, development bodies, local boy-scout groups and local authorities. Partnership programmes concerns four main action domain, i.e., clean and safe environment, educational partnerships, commercial vitality and neighbourhood revitalisation.
  • The Texas Tech University, based at Lubbock, established a set of partnership agreement with community organisations of different kind including a community banking organisation (the Prosperity Bank), a network of associations supporting public schools (Communities in Schools), a food Bank (the South Plains Food Bank), and a youth organisation (Boys and Girls Club).
  • Different colleges, universities, community colleges, local businesses, and non-profits based in Kansas and Missouri have created the “Whiteboard2Boardroom”, an innovation partnership network aimed to discover and develop technology by pulling it out of the institutions and actively moving it along the development pathway. Through this program, students, faculty, and local community work to establish new business ventures, licensing opportunities, create jobs, and spur economic development through mentoring, job training, hands on learning opportunities, and access to capital funds.

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