London Higher launches the first ever regional map of universities’ civic activity

London Higher – the representative body for the UK’s higher education powerhouse in London – is today calling for Government to recognise the vital role of the capital’s universities in the Covid-19 recovery process as it launches the first-ever pan-regional map of civic university activity in England.

The London Higher Civic Map, which contains over 150 examples of university-led civic activity in the capital, is the most ambitious attempt in the UK higher education sector to date to delineate the varied and vital contribution that universities make to their local region.

Compiled in collaboration with members of the London Higher Civic Network, the map shows clearly the collective efforts of the capital’s universities and higher education colleges to benefit local communities and positively impact society across six core areas of: health, education, business, creative, community cohesion and the environment.

The dynamic project will act as a ‘living document’ to keep track of the sector’s civic activity over time and allow policymakers to better understand where higher education institutions are working, what they are doing and with whom they are partnering.

As well as reflecting the depth and diversity of civic activity from London Higher members, the map identifies civic engagement ‘hotspots’ in the capital and supports policymakers to work with higher education institutions to target inequalities in those parts of the city that need it the most.

Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer of London Higher said;

“The scale of the recovery that lies ahead for London as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic is enormous. To help the capital get back on its feet quickly, policymakers should be looking for ways to harness the transformative power and collaboration that is already in abundance across the capital’s leading public and private-sector institutions.

“As our map confirms, London’s higher education institutions are true lifebuoys for their localities—always visible to those around them, and ready to help keep their capital and its people afloat in times of crisis. It is my hope that policymakers will recognise the immense contribution made by universities to the city and nation’s recovery and make them the first port of call when addressing future challenges.”

Professor Wendy Thomson, Vice-Chancellor of University of London, and Executive Chair of London Higher’s Civic Network said;

“London Higher’s civic university map helps us understand how much London’s universities already contribute to their communities, but also where and how they could do more. The role of higher education institutions across London will be instrumental in ensuring that our capital and our country recovers from the pandemic, and we look forward to working with The Mayor, the GLA, and national policy makers to step up to the challenge.”

Professor Amanda Broderick, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of East London, and Chair of London Higher said;

“London’s higher education institutions are proud of their place in their community and the role we play in local life. London Higher is committed to showing national policymakers that London’s universities and colleges are civic too, and that our local communities are at the heart of everything that we do. This mapping project highlights the impact of members on their local communities, whether or not they have attended a London institution.”