The University of Edinburgh has always been closely intertwined with the City of Edinburgh and its local communities. Founded by Edinburgh’s Town Council in 1583, it is the oldest university in the English-speaking world to be established on a civic foundation and, as such, places a special importance on how it engages with the city, the region and its various communities.
In 2019, the University outlined Social and Civic Responsibility as a key focus area of its Strategy 2030. It is also a key partner in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, where it is putting its excellence in research and education at the service of communities, government and industry, to realise the benefits of data driven innovation and to promote inclusive economic growth.
In 2020, the University launched its new Community Plan, to help deliver on its commitment to social and civic responsibility. The plan identified 32 commitments through extensive consultation with local residents, community groups, and University staff and students, including:
a community grants scheme that will provide £250,000 to local groups over the five years
a day of annual leave for staff to get involved in volunteering,
support for student social enterprises,
opening up buildings to community bookings,
scaling-up community engagement projects as part of degree programmes.
Edinburgh Futures Institute is a major strategic initiative of the University of Edinburgh. It is being developed in recognition that almost all of the biggest challenges facing society are complex and multi-layered, and that insight and innovation can come from bringing together expertise from across different disciplines.
The Institute is working with local communities, governments and industry to create a portfolio of research, education and wider engagement which is data-rich and aims to have demonstrable ethical, social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts.