Civic mission

Universities’ civic mission relates to how they interact with their communities and operate for a wider public good. This can include how they involve their communities in their research or use it; how they offer their services or expertise outside the institution; how they get involved with local issues; or how they open their doors to the public.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic

Higher Education in a Changing World: Adapting in a Time of Crisis features case studies from around Wales, and shines a light on how universities supported their students, staff and communities during the most testing of times.

They show how universities:

  • prepared materials for home schoolers
  • held their performance studies showcases online
  • found digital solutions to teach subjects such as engineering
  • provided online learning to support teachers to continue teaching, and
  • created resources to help reskill furloughed workers.

The report also highlights how students’ unions responded by delivering food packages to isolating students, by keeping their students communities connected, and by celebrating the work of students.


In 2018 we provided £1.8 million to encourage universities to further develop activities related to their civic mission, including for physics mentoring for school pupils, social prescribing in the community, and online resources for school governors.

Research Wales Innovation Fund (RWIF)

All RWIF strategies outline the civic mission ambitions of institutions in relation to innovation and engagement. Funding can be used to support activities and engage new staff to ensure institutions are key partners in their communities. Civic mission in this area can support cultural heritage such as public engagement through research, or be directed at activities that promote our vision of social and economic prosperity, and the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Innovation Nation: On Common Ground

Innovation Nation: On Common Ground (2018) shows the impact of higher education providers on local, national and international communities. The publication includes more than fifty case studies from higher education providers, and covers areas as diverse as healthcare and well-being provision; local access to arts, sport culture and heritage; aspiration-raising activities; and community and school engagement.