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OU commitment to public engagement exemplified by International Development research

19 November 2018

The Open University’s latest pledge of its commitment to public engagement gives a prominent role to the university’s international development research.

The OU is a signatory to the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Manifesto for Public Engagement and was recently invited to update its online Manifesto statement.

The revised entry highlights Professor Giles Mohan, Chair in International Development at the OU, and his research to exemplify the OU’s public engagement people.

Professor Mohan outlines how the “huge, complex and inter-connected challenges” of international development oblige the researcher to engage with many different publics.

He homes in on his work on migration to make the point that research in Africa and Milton Keynes are inter-connected.

Professor Mohan said: “My research focuses on the development challenges facing Africa and starts from the recognition that, while Africa has been subject to external influence for decades, Africans themselves are the shapers of their own development.

“Everything we do has a public engagement element which means that, embedded in our research, is the deep involvement of those on the ground living these challenges and, therefore, the ability for our collaborations to have real impact where it matters.”

The revised statement is introduced by Professor Mary Kellett, Acting Vice-Chancellor at The Open University, who said: "Engagement has always been an integral part of our open learning mission, putting people at the heart of everything we value.” She goes on to reaffirm that the University ensures its academic work has relevance in wider society and embraces an “ecology of openness” aligned with its social justice mission.

The (NCCPE) was founded in 2008, as part of the Higher Education Funding Council for England Beacons for Public Engagement initiative to support a culture change in how universities engage with the public.

The OU was invited to update its Manifesto signatory entry as part of the NCCPE’s 10th anniversary celebrations. You can read the revised entry here.

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International Development Research Office
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