UK university increases external engagement to maximise relationship with home city

UK university increases external engagement to maximise relationship with home city


Nous partnered with a leading UK research and teaching university – ranked in the top 50 in the world – to help increase its profile and strengthen its connections within its local community.

A framework to increase engagement with the university’s home city

The university sought to increase its profile and strengthen its connections with business, policy-makers, community groups and individuals in its city. By doing so, the university hoped to increase its influence, impact and ultimately the benefit it provided to society, as well as enhance its own research and education offerings.

We identified barriers hindering engagement and ways to improve it – coherently

Nous worked with the university to identify barriers that were hindering effective engagement, and to determine a framework – including improvements to structures, processes and capabilities – to enable better engagement. We:

  • examined current engagement through internal surveys, interviews and focus groups, and external consultation with stakeholders across various sectors
  • reviewed best-practice engagement approaches
  • developed a vision and articulated objectives for future engagement
  • designed a framework to support the university in achieving that vision.

Our resulting framework outlined priority areas of focus and specified how the university should engage with different sectors. It also identified governance arrangements, structures, processes, and IT and staff capabilities required for successful engagement.

Our framework enhanced the way the university coordinates, supports, facilitates and communicates with its community

Our new framework enabled the university to maximise the value and impact of its existing engagement activity, through enhanced coordination, support, facilitation and communication. It also helped the organisation strengthen its focus in some sectors and provide a clear ‘front door’ and navigation processes to make it easier for external entities to engage with it.

What other organisations can learn:

  • Develop a deep understanding of community/partner needs to maximise mutually beneficial engagement.
  • Design systems and processes to support collaboration, minimise duplication and improve relationship management.
  • Identify barriers to engagement in order to enable it.