The University of Glasgow has reaffirmed its commitment to working in the wider interest of Glasgow and Scotland by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in the community top of its list of priorities.
The University joins 30 other institutions - which include many of the best-known names in higher education - in committing to produce a “Civic University Agreement” in partnership with local government and other major institutions.
The agreement is a key recommendation in a new report by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake.
The report sets out how universities like Glasgow have the capability, opportunity and responsibility to support the places where they are based to solve some of their most pressing social and economic problems. This comes in the aftermath of the University signing a historic agreement with Glasgow City Council last month, pledging to use the institution’s academic expertise to help inform public policy in the city.
Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli said: “The University of Glasgow is determined to play a full and active role in the public life of our city and of Scotland - and I am delighted to have reaffirmed our commitment by signing this historic Civic University Agreement.
“From our world-leading £1bn campus redevelopment project to our exciting plans for the Glasgow Innovation District encompassing the West End and Waterfront areas of the City, our role in boosting Glasgow’s economy is clear.
“But equally important is the key social role of our University - and whether that is in taking action on social inclusion and widening access, or providing expert advice on public policy, we are very proud of our record across the City and across the country.
“Since 1451 we have been an integral part of Glasgow. Our University only thrives when the City thrives, and vice versa - and this agreement is a further demonstration of our commitment to be a good citizen of Glasgow, helping our City and Scotland meet its full social, cultural and economic potential.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Our universities are an integral part of the fabric of Scottish public life, delivering world class cultural, educational and economic benefits to their communities and the country as a whole.
“For centuries, Glasgow has played its full part in the life of our nation and this historic pledge to the community of Glasgow - and to Scotland as a whole - is in the best traditions of the university.
“That’s why I am so pleased to see the continuing investment the university has planned and the commitment they and others have shown to critical social policy issues, not least widening access and social inclusion.”
Leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Susan Aitken said: “The University of Glasgow is a key partner in meeting our ambitions for the City and I’m delighted to see a further demonstration of their commitment to aligning their priorities with the City’s, to help meet the social and economic challenges Glasgow faces in the coming years.
“This commitment follows the signing of a historic agreement between the City Council and all academic institutions in the City just last month - providing the basis for institutions to work across boundaries to make a better Glasgow, whether at the highest level of building international links and attracting inward investment, or right down to local issues of inclusivity, such as bringing young people from challenged communities into our learning institutions.”
Lord Kerslake said: “The deep economic and social changes that are happening in Britain today have, alongside Brexit, made the civic role of universities even more vital to the places they are located in.
“Universities have an irreplaceable and unique role in helping their host communities thrive - and their own success is bound up with the success of the places that gave birth to them.”
Glasgow City Council
Full text of the Civic University Agreement