University–Community Engagement in the Wider Policy Environment

  • Paul BenneworthEmail author
  • David Charles


This chapter seeks to place the idea of university–community engagement in terms of the way that is regarded by public policy managers, who are increasingly adopting the mind-sets and policy paradigms of New Public Management (NPM). This chapter firstly argues that one unintended consequence of the adoption of NPM has been to channel interest in and demand for public engagement towards a particular kind of business engagement, namely intellectual property-led commercialisation. This chapter argues that for community engagement to become a serious mission, these individual policy measures have to achieve a system shift in which the idea of engagement no longer is locked into that of commercialisation. This can happen across two dimensions, adding additional elements to the system or segmenting the system, and with the government involved in steering the network, and by the government allowing partners to agree their own targets and goals. This chapter explores how the Mission-Based Contracts approach in Australia has allowed particular universities to define themselves in terms—and receive funding on the basis—of their engagement with and service for excluded communities. This chapter concludes by noting that it was only where universities developed material dependencies on these communities, for example, by local campuses that community engagement significantly changed those universities’ missions and the way they portrayed those missions to government.


Community Engagement Engagement Activity High Education System Technology Transfer Office Policy Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter draws on within the Economic and Social Research Council-funded project ‘Universities and excluded communities’, part of the Regional Impacts of Higher Education Initiative. This Initiative is co-funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Higher Education Policy StudiesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.European Policy Research CentreUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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