1st European USR-Conference 'University meets Social Responsibility'
The final conference of the UNIBILITY project will take place in Barcelona at the 22nd of September 2017. GUNi will be present at this conference presenting the 6th GUNi report 'Towards a Socialy Responsible University - balancnig the Global with the Local' and giving a special emphasis on the importance of RRI in Higher Education with projects such as HEIRRI and EnRRICH.
The conference will be the venue where the results and final outputs of the project will be presented: the USR Toolkit of Ideas, the Training material and the Guidelines for universities to engage in local communities. In addition to presenting participants with active examples of how universities engage in the local community, the strategic steps necessary to pursue the university third mission will be discussed, providing university delegates with ideas and tools to implement University Social Responsibility in their home university.
The session will be shared with Valentina Tassone, from the Wageningen University & Research Centre The Netherlands, who will present 'EnRRICH, for more responsible and responsive graduates'.
Universities are embedded within local communities of business companies, NGOs, local associations, cities and other stakeholders, and should not operate in isolation. However, many local researchers work in isolation on a theoretical level without connection to problems of practice in their field, and many students lack practical working experience, while local business and social partners need innovation and the connection to science in order to be as competitive and innovative as possible.
University’s Social Responsibility (USR) has been – as a concept – derived from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and is about managing these relationships to produce an overall positive impact on society with research, development and higher education. CSR has been applied to businesses & companies, but rarely to universities. It involves responsible acting in three pillars: PEOPLE: social component / PLANET: environmental component /PROFIT: economic component.
Universities must seek to strengthen their public commitment to the city they are located in, the local economy and to the wider society through their research and higher education activities in order to have a real impact on their local communities and to improve the relevance of higher education in society. To date this potential and impact of universities on local communities is to a large extent unexploited.