A Civic University Agreement, developed by the University of Derby, has been launched in partnership with 15 other organisations from across the city and county.
The Agreement, created following extensive consultation, clearly articulates the long-term civic ambitions of the University, and how it intends to work with these 15 signatories to drive forward the local recovery and regeneration of Derby and Derbyshire, helping to channel aspirations, support local communities, share knowledge and enhance the area’s overall offer and vibrancy.
It focuses on five core goals, designed to make a positive impact on the people, communities, organisations and businesses within Derby and Derbyshire:
- Secure our future
- Drive ambition and positive change
- Make a positive environmental impact
- Support health and wellbeing
- Invest in culture as a driver for change
During the event, each goal was brought to life through a civic showcase, highlighting the breadth of projects and initiatives underway. These included presentations on:
- Apprenticeships and skills – the positive impact University of Derby civil engineering apprentices are having on Greenhatch group, a Geospatial surveys firm
- Raising aspirations – how a Year 12 student from the Bemrose School is now considering applying to Oxbridge thanks to her involvement in the Derby Scholars Programme, a partnership between the University of Derby, Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford and Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge
- Green travel – DerbyGo, a green mobility app being developed as part of a partnership between the University, Derby City Council and Kinto, Toyota’s mobility brand
- ‘SHEDding light on long-Covid’ – a collaboration between scientific and artistic researchers at the University that will see the University’s S.H.E.D tour the country to explore the challenges affecting people suffering from long-Covid
- Retro Feva 80’s – a DerbyCAN commissioned music jukebox show inspired by Top of the Pop’s 80’s featuring a community cast of local performers.
Commenting on its launch, Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby has always been civic – educating, innovating, creating, making, and inspiring, but this is the first time we have explicitly set out our civic intentions and articulated the overall impact made by the University and its staff and students.
“Through our Civic University Agreement, we are making a clear statement of intent as to how we will approach our civic role moving forward. However, the ambitions we have set out need support from others if we are to achieve them and I am overwhelmed by the positive response from the organisations we approached to be signatories and who will be alongside us on this important journey.”
The development of Civic University Agreements was a key recommendation in a report published in 2019 by the Civic University Commission set up by the UPP Foundation and chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake.
The report sets out how universities like Derby have the capability, opportunity and responsibility to support the places where they are based to solve some of their most pressing and major problems. These issues range from helping local businesses adapt to technological change, to boosting the health of local people, improving education for school pupils and adult learners, and training and developing new civic leaders in every field from politics to the arts.
The report aims to help universities build on the excellent work that many of them are already carrying out in these areas, working alongside councils, employers, cultural institutions, schools and further education colleges.
The signatories of the Civic University Agreement are:
University of Derby, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, East Midlands Chamber, Chesterfield Borough Council, Derbyshire Voluntary Action, Derbyshire County Council, DHU Healthcare, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, Derby City Council, Derby Cathedral, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner and High Peak Borough Council.
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “This Civic University Agreement demonstrates the leading role in transforming place, stimulating economic growth and providing skills for the future that the University of Derby will take to contribute to the long-term economic prosperity aspirations that exist in Derby and Derbyshire.
“This agreement and its resulting future activities, initiatives and programmes will have a significant positive impact on society by supporting the aspirations of all our local communities in the city and the county and retain our future business leaders right here.”
Will Morlidge, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Civic University Agreement is a clear sign that partners remain committed to improving social mobility and driving forward innovation and the economic prosperity of our city and county. We are proud members of the Derby Opportunity Area Board, a key part of the civic agenda, and the leadership shown by Professor Kathryn Mitchell and the support from the University of Derby team has been fundamental to improving the life-chances of many young people within our communities.”
Jacqui Willis, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Voluntary Action, said: “Amplifying the voices of communities has never been so important. The opportunities that Community Chesterfield, Derbyshire Voluntary Action’s partnership with the University of Derby, has created for students to enhance their studies has been incredible and impactful. We are thrilled and excited to support the Civic University Agreement”
University of Derby, D2N2 LEP, East Midlands Chamber, Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire Voluntary Action support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.