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Queen Mary wins first-ever Platinum award for Public Engagement

Queen Mary University of London has become the first university to be awarded the Platinum-level Engage Watermark in recognition of its sector-leading support for public engagement and commitment to excellence. This is the first award of its kind in the UK and attests to the University’s reputation for excellence in its public engagement work. Queen Mary was also the first university to be awarded a Gold Engage Watermark in 2016.

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The announcement of the award, by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), came today at the Engage Conference 2021.

The Platinum Engage Watermark was awarded following a robust assessment which involved students and staff from across the University, as well as external partners who have worked with Queen Mary.

Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal of Queen Mary, said: “We are honoured and absolutely delighted to be awarded the first Platinum Engage Watermark. We strongly believe that creating and sharing knowledge with the public as partners is integral to ensuring our research and teaching has benefits for society.

“I am extremely proud of all of our staff and students who demonstrate that commitment every day, and I would like to say a special thank you to every member of the public and every community group who has worked with Queen Mary – we share this award with you.”

Professor Paul Manners, Co-Director of the NCCPE, who was involved in the assessment process, said: “We are delighted to be able to award Queen Mary University of London our first ever Platinum Watermark award. The review demonstrated very strong support for engagement in all parts of the Institution. Engagement is woven into Queen Mary’s 2030 Strategy and is very much part of the core business of the institution. For many staff it was impossible to imagine the University without its public engagement work.

“Queen Mary has very strong partnerships with the local NHS Trust and the local authority, through which they have made significant contributions to Covid-19 recovery and providing opportunities for local young people. The university and the Centre for Public Engagement staff are trusted by local communities and partners speak very highly of their work together. There is a real emphasis on listening to and responding to community need and in removing barriers to Higher Education.”

Sophie Duncan, Co-Director of the NCCPE said: “Since the early days of the NCCPE we have been championing a culture in higher education where public engagement can thrive. Never has this work been more important or urgent to address.

“The Engage Watermark offers a benchmarking opportunity for institutions to evidence their commitment and achievements – and we applaud the commitment of institutions who embark on this process with us and use the results to focus their future plans and ambitions to engage better with the public.” 

Queen Mary’s public engagement involves a huge range of projects in the UK and round the world, from the Pathways to Ancient Britain project ‘Deep History Detectives’ based in Norfolk to ACACIA, working with children in Africa on controlling asthma.

In addition, Queen Mary empowers students to lead their own engagement projects, such as Barts Community Smiles, and works with a range of partners, particularly in our East London community, including the Mile End Community Project.

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