Cardiff University presented with Sir David Watson award

The new international award is hosted by the University of Brighton

The Sir David Watson award, given in memory of the University of Brighton’s former Vice-Chancellor, recognises the combined efforts of community and university partners towards making a difference in the lives of people in their shared community.

The winning project, Cardiff University’s Community Gateway, works with residents and local organisations to help make the city’s Grangetown district an even better place to live and work by developing world class research, teaching and volunteering opportunities responding to residents’ ideas.

The Professor Sir David Watson Award for Community-University Partnerships award was presented at The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) Engage conference in Bristol by Dave Wolff, Director of the University of Brighton’s award-winning Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), which was created by Sir David. The NCCPE is part of the Founding Group which established the award.

Mr Wolff said: “Sir David, who died in 2015, was principal of the University of Oxford’s Green Templeton College. He led Brighton to gaining university status in 1992 and continued as head of the institution for another 13 years, establishing CUPP in 2003.

“His achievements are many, but included within them are the profound leadership he offered in the establishment of the contemporary university’s role in society, particularly via partnerships with communities.  

“Sir David said: ‘Community engagement from a university perspective often means taking a university back to the reasons for its founding. If we look carefully we will see nearly all institutions were put there to make life better for communities in terms of prosperity and social cohesion.’

The award recognises the efforts of community and university partners working together for mutual benefit. It has been run in the spirit of community university partnerships: co-governed by a global range of colleagues from the university and community sectors, with the winner democratically chosen by individual donors.’ 

Sir David Watson

This year’s winner, Cardiff University’s Community Gateway, is a worthy recipient of the award,’ continued Mr Wolff. ‘Cardiff’s Community Gateway teamed up with community partners Grangetown Community Action and the Grange Pavilion to build a long-term partnership with local residents that has provided substantial and enduring benefits.

“Cardiff University has a long history of community university relations. As early as 1901, the Cardiff University Settlement in Splott was created to improve social conditions in one of the poorer areas of the city. The University’s current contribution is illustrated by its hefty haul of awards for its engagement work, including the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community.

“Cardiff University’s current Engagement strategy has focused on five flagship engagement projects that help those who do not traditionally engage, and their next strategy is responding to a call to action from the Welsh Government to support social cohesion focusing on health, wealth and wellbeing.

“We will be running this award again and I am delighted to announce that Cardiff University will join the Award Advisory Board too, using their expertise to help us develop the award for the future.”

The award scheme, the first of its kind, attracted entries from around the UK and abroad, including Pakistan and Canada.

Individual donors to the award fund selected the winning application. To donate to the award fund, go to: Just giving David Watson Award

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