Higher education institutions face increasing pressure to ensure their research, knowledge and teaching involves, and benefits, their communities. Many are reassessing how they create and share knowledge, striving to work more inclusively and collaboratively with a range of communities – including voluntary and civic, industry, policy, arts, culture, and the public - to maximise the value of their work.
How universities engage with communities is recognised by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Engage Watermark - a charter mark awarded to universities for excellence in their support and practice of public engagement across all aspects of their work.
Following a rigorous assessment process, the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, hosted by University of Oxford, has been awarded a Silver Watermark. The assessment involved staff from across the institutions, and their partner organisations.
The Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG) aims to extend our understanding of the role genetics and genomics plays in human health and diseases. Engagement with the public has been critical to these aims and WHG are increasingly working with their communities to help shape and inform their research.
Paul Manners, Co-director of the NCCPE said: “We are delighted to award WCHG a Silver Watermark. Our review highlighted a strong commitment to engagement across the Centre, many exemplary practices, and ambitious future plans. The Centre has developed a host of purposeful and high-quality programmes, some reaching and inspiring large audiences with the centre’s work, others working in more sensitive ways with patient communities to open up the social and ethical dimensions of its research. The Centre’s partners were delighted with their collaborative work and keen to do more in the future”.
Prof John Todd, Professor of Precision Medicine and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics said: ‘‘Public engagement is crucial for promoting scientific literacy and fostering public trust in science. Receiving the Silver Engage Watermark Award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics. This award highlights our commitment to public engagement and encourages us to continue using our new strategy, mission, and priorities to guide our future approach. We look forward to working with NCCPE over the next three years and continue developing our practice and leadership in public engagement.’’