• The University

Community and Public Engagement

robertson school

Engagement for the Common Good

Glasgow Caledonian University has a long and rich heritage of Community and Public Engagement (CPE) which is embedded in our core activity across our three campuses in Glasgow, London and New York at a local and global level.  This longstanding commitment to working in partnership with people in their communities decisively strengthens research impact and quality for knowledge exchange.  CPE enriches the student experience and fulfils the University's Common Good mission in many different ways. Some examples can be found on our Engagement Map

GCU formalised our commitment to community engagement in 2012 with the strategic development of CPE and by signing the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s 'Engaged University' manifesto. NCCPE support the higher education sector making a vital, strategic and valued contribution to 21st-century society through its public engagement activity.

At GCU, we define CPE as 'varied activities led by communities and individuals in partnership with GCU staff and students to jointly find solutions to societal issues and shape our research, learning and teaching'. 

Since 2012, CPE at GCU have engaged with approx. 20,000 members of the public on almost 200 events involving 1000 members of staff, 1200 students and 200 internal and external partners. 

Following the university commissioned CPE consultation 'Imagine Community' (2016), GCU had an opportunity to refresh our CPE strategy to reflect our rich history of CPE but move it towards a more ambitious, progressive and sustainable set of evidenced-based high impact goals in keeping with our Common Good mission. 

The overall aim of CPE at GCU is: to create the evidenced-based conditions for meaningful and sustainable engagement for the Common Good.

This aim will be operationalised through the following five impact goals:

1. Engaged Culture - CPE work is valued, supported and embedded across all aspects of GCU's strategic portfolio, staff group and activity. 

2. Community Engaged Learning - maximising opportunities to bring CPE with the Common Good Curriculum. 

3. Engaged Research - supporting co-created and meaningful research outputs with communities which contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. 

4. Sustainable Engagement - developing sustainable, reciprocal and equitable partnerships.

5. Visible Engagement - CPE activity communicated through GCU's Engagement Map and GCU recognised for innovation and excellence in CPE. 


This strategy represents a vision of a different type of university: A university as a driver for social, economic and cultural change that is firmly anchored in communities and serving the public good.  

Contact Susan Grant our CPE Coordinator if you would like to get involved or share your engagement story and follow us on @GCUEngagement

Our CPE Impact Report for 2019- 2020 can be viewed here 

Case studies from this report can be viewed below:


Environmental Justice and Social Work 

Explorathon: Middle of Scotland Science Festival with University of Glasgow

Explorathon: Riverside Extravaganza with University of Glasgow and Strathclyde University

Talk Exchange with The Swap Market, Govanhill 

Virtual Tour of Wartime Glasgow with GCU Social Work, GCU Archives and National Library of Scotland

The War Game: Censorship, War and The Media with GCU Media and Journalism, Scottish CND and ESRC Festival of Social Sciences

Food for Thought with Queens Cross Housing Association

Castlemilk Stables Talks with Cassiltoun Housing Association

GCU_three-minute-thesis‌ with GCU Graduate School

Cricket Scotland Partnership‌ 


Below are examples of some of our CPE projects from 2018-19

GCU Citizen Science Day 2019‌ GCU Community/Citizen Science Day is a key project in the engagement and outreach projects delivered by the cross university GCU STEM network.  Each year as part of a wider collaboration with with Glasgow Science Festival, GCU take their research and researchers to community venues in different areas of the city to enthuse and inspire hundreds of families about science.  

PENA an engaged research project that developed a programme of learning which supported Roma women to develop knowledge and skills which enabled them to access meaningful employment and in doing so alleviate poverty led by Dr Heather Lynch.  Please view the latest PENA briefing paper‌ on the PENA project. 

GCU Labs on Campus‌ for The Glasgow Science Festival offers primary and secondary school pupils and teachers access to the lastest scientific equipment, research and teaching facilities and the expertise of GCU staff and students to share knowledge and inspire young people about STEM and university. 

Discover, Prevent, Manage Diabetes‌ community events offer screening for type 2 diabetes, best care and control for people with diabetes and their carers from GCU School of Health and Life Sciences staff and students led by Dr Jane Nally. 

GCU's Three Minute Thesis‌ competition challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes led by The GCU Graduate School. Developed by The University of Queensland, GCU has been part of the Vitae UK competition since 2015. 

GCU's Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention Team (SHIP) deliver community awareness sessions during Antimicrobial Awareness Week each year.  In 2018-19, Professor SNOT‌ visited Cadder Primary school in North Glasgow in the lead up to our GCU Citizen Science Day to teach children about microbes and how they can be spread, and how infections can be prevented through good hand washing. 

Food for Thought‌ is a community partnership between GCU and Queens Cross Housing Association. Engaging and information talks by researchers at the university are held in generation areas in North Glasgow followed by dinner and discussion. 

My Favourite‌... is a public lecture series that takes place each year in The Dram pub for the Glasgow Science Festival.  Each academic from the four universities in and around Glasgow make their case for their own "favourite" from that year's theme and the audience vote on which was the most compelling and convincing.  Led by Dr Jim Reilly.

The Spirit of Cricket‌ for the Common Good is a partnership with GCU and Cricket Scotland to engage with Black and minority ethnic, migrant and refugee communities and GCU's diverse student body through cricket. 

GCU researchers contribute to Explorathon‌ organised by The University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. Explorathon is series of Pop-up 'Meet the Researcher' interactive activities, demonstrations and exhibitions which take place all across Europe at the end of September each year. 

GCU supports World AIDS Day each year to show solidarity to those living with HIV/AIDS and end the stigma with a programme of activities such as our Stay Smart‌ campaign in 2018.

We aim to contribute to society in a manner that embraces yet goes beyond the traditional role of a university. Glasgow Caledonian University's For the Common Good commitment is brought to life and delivered by students and staff across academic schools and departments."
GCU Prinicipal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, FRSE, Glasgow Caledonian University