Social Responsibility

‘Placeshapers’ gather in Manchester to plan for local and global change

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:03:00 BST

Following on from conferences in partnership with Oxford and Coventry, UMI3, The University of Manchester’s Innovation Company, hosted Anchor Institutions – Home Grown – Local Roots spreading Global Shoots. The final keynote conference to discuss and debate how universities can deliver significant social change in areas such as healthcare, social justice and poverty reduction both locally and globally.

Professor James Thompson, Vice-President for Social Responsibility at The University, opened the conference with an upbeat presentation highlighting how Manchester, through its Goal 3 focus, has embraced the social responsibility agenda. He was joined by experts including Professor Ruth Lupton of the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit (IGAU) and other UK social innovation representatives.

Keith Jeffrey of Coventry University announced the launch of The Social University Network which aims to mobilise the leaders, innovators and ‘placeshapers’ within UK Higher Education Institutions to contribute further to the growing social innovation movement. The network is a legacy of SEEChange, a £5m five year programme funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and UnLtd that has helped universities embed social innovation and produce many social enterprises.

Nickala Torkington of Flourish CIC who were commissioned by HEFCE explained that over 728 business have been created by UK universities led by students, staff and graduates now delivering significant social change projects.

The event culminated in a commitment by those present to work in more cohesive and coordinated ways to further establish universities as ‘Anchor Institutions’. Dr Laura Etchells of UMI3 commented: "What we are doing here today in Manchester through our social responsibility activity is a great example of an anchor institution, that is alongside our main function, we play a significant and recognised role in our locality by making a strategic contribution to the local economy and society.”

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