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Our future - Social responsibility and civic engagement

19 Jul 2022

What we've achieved in the social responsibility and civic engagement theme of our strategic plan and what's next.

Volunteering in Whitworth Park

These two themes have been brought together to reflect the increasing alignment between our social responsibility and civic engagement work.

Under this theme we are focused on five priorities. They are social inclusion, better health, environmental sustainability, cultural engagement, and prosperous communities.

You can find out more about our theme plan

Achievements to July 2022 

We achieved top status in the world in 2021 for performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ninth place in 2022. The SDGs have also been embedded into our Making a Difference Awards and Community Festival. (Shared Social responsibility/Our people, our values) 

Environmental Sustainability 

We developed the Zero Carbon Masterplan, committing to becoming a zero-carbon university by 2038. We have also successfully divested from fossil fuel and other carbon intensive investments. (Shared Social responsibility/Our people, our values) 

We launched Sustainable Futures, which brings together the depth and breadth of our internationally-leading research that is providing integrated and sustainable solutions to the most urgent environmental challenges. (Shared Social Responsibility/Research) 

Cultural engagement 

We opened the First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank – a stunning new building which is at the heart of a £21.5m project to highlight the inspirational heritage of Jodrell Bank to even more people. 

Social inclusion 

We led on the partnership between Greater Manchester’s five universities, the GMCA and Mayor Andy Burnham to launch a new Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement which has set out shared priorities and actions for how we can support our city region to be greener, fairer, healthier and more prosperous. 

Prosperous communities 

We launched a new Open SME programme with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and other universities in our city region, to link expertise within our business schools to small businesses through free, short-course online learning to support leaders to improve profitability, sustainability and increase business growth. 

Better health 

We co-hosted the 5th East African Health Summit as an online event, attracting over 200 global participants to discuss current healthcare challenges and how resilient healthcare systems can be created for the benefit of all.   

We retained our status as one of the top universities in the country for openness in animal research. Officially known as Leader in Openness, the award is given by Understanding Animal Research, a key body which promotes understanding of the humane use of animals in a range of medical and scientific research in the UK. (Shared Social Responsibility/Research) 


Focus for 2022/23 

Environmental Sustainability 

We will further develop implementation options for our Zero Carbon Masterplan. (Shared Social Responsibility/Our people, our values) 

Social inclusion 

We will launch a new EDI strategy (shared SR/OPOV) and launch a new civic panel to engage local citizens in the work of the University.