Our universities in the community

Anyone who has studied at a Russell Group university will appreciate that they are communities of learning, of research and of innovation.

But what many may not realise is how much they are also at the heart of their wider community and how central this is to the ethos of Russell Group universities. Public engagement is a core mission for our 24 members, not an optional add-on. They know that developing close and constructive ties with their neighbours, living and working outside the campus gates, brings mutual benefits.

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Our universities play a significant role in the economy of their home town or city, directly employing thousands of people and supporting many jobs across a wide range of sectors. They have all developed close links with local businesses, schools, public sector partners and charitable organisations. Throughout the year, our members host and run a diverse range of community-focused events, including science, history, sporting, literature and music festivals.

Russell Group university students undertake an estimated 1 million hours of volunteering in their local area every year. Each of our universities works with an average of 200 charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations. This activity not only benefits communities but also enhances the experience of students, helping them develop into active citizens as well as skilled employees, ready to join the UK workforce after they graduate.

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Perhaps less known, but just as important, is the work our universities do to bring people together through social events such as exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Last year almost one and half million members of the public took advantage of free lectures and our universities also open the doors of their museums, galleries, theatres and state-of-the-art sports facilities to residents and organisations. More than five and a half million people attend exhibitions at museums and galleries located within our universities every year.

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Through a wide range of outreach programmes, Russell Group universities have active links with around 8,000 local schools to encourage applications from students from all backgrounds. This includes homework sessions for younger pupils, and open days and residential visits for students taking A Levels. They believe passionately in the life-changing ability of higher education to improve social mobility.

In 2015/16, more than 20,000 start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) benefitted from Russell Group university consultancy support and expertise, helping them develop new products and services and boost productivity.

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Our universities also collaborate with their local communities on important research projects. This underpins the excellence that is characteristic of Russell Group universities and helps them address global health, economic and environmental challenges that affect all our lives.

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Find out more about the work Russell Group universities do in their local community.

How universities engage with their local community