A national network of universities committed to transforming lives and places

The Civic University Network and the National Civic Impact Accelerator (NCIA) are pioneering initiatives harnessing the collective power of the higher education sector to drive societal, economic, and environmental advancements in the places they call home.

Led by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with a consortium of leading institutions and organisations, we help universities across the UK work for the good of their places, deepen their civic impact and amplify their contributions.

We also work with governments and strategic partners to ensure that a university’s geographic role and responsibility is used more effectively as an agent to drive positive societal change.

Upcoming and recent events

Browse and sign-up to our exciting programme of events here. Missed out? Don’t worry, we record most of our events so you can catch-up on demand.

CiviCon24: Where #PlaceMatters

18 & 19 June 2024


This event is designed for leaders, professionals and academics navigating the civic landscape within higher education, as well as senior leaders who are driving change within their institutions.

Collaborative Newcastle Universities Agreement Showcase

Postponed: watch this space!

Postponed: watch this space!

Bringing partners together to discuss how the Civic University Agreement was developed, the writing process, and its implementation.

Bristol Civic University Agreement Showcase

17 April 2024, 15:00-16:30

17 April 2024, 15:00-16:30

An open event for Network members to get together, collaborate and share practice.

Stay in the know

Our free email newsletter provides the latest updates from the Network, including details of future events, commentary from our partners on civic topics, new resource releases, and more.

How well does your university resource its civic activities?

There’s growing enthusiasm for universities’ civic role, and an increasing number of university staff have ‘civic’ responsibilities. But we don’t yet have a clear picture of the resources that support this work. That’s why we’re inviting you to share your experiences and views in a new survey. Please spread the word to relevant colleagues and partners in HE institutions – thank you!

Civic Impact

Our mission is to assist universities throughout the UK to establish effective collaborations with other stakeholders to benefit their local communities.

Universities can contribute to the places they call home in various ways, which we describe as the domains of Civic Impact.

We have identified seven domains of Civic Impact, and we support universities to devise and implement effective strategies to make significant, positive differences in their local communities.

Environment, Climate & Biodiversity
How universities can lead in climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and promoting sustainability education.
Health & Wellbeing
How HEIs collaborate with healthcare organisations and communities to improve local wellbeing and address health disparities.
Arts & Culture
Focusing on enriching local cultural life through engagement with cultural organisations and ensuring community inclusion in events and activities.
Economic Impact
Universities working towards creating prosperous places by reducing economic inequality and supporting a flourishing local economy in partnership with stakeholders.
Estates, Facilities & Placemaking
How we can utilise university estates for community benefit, focusing on sustainability, accessibility, and placemaking standards.
Institutional Strategy & Leadership
How we can embed civic priorities in governance and strategies, ensuring a comprehensive approach to civic commitment and impact.

Latest news

Our planned outcomes

Civic University Network

  • Widespread good practice is accelerating the civic agenda
  • Increased alignment and greater coherence in policy funding levers for civic activity

  • Civic roles will be informed by an evidence based analysis of the needs of the place, developed with local partners and informed by the voice of the community

National Civic Impact Accelerator

  • Civic strategies and practices across the country are underpinned by evidence about what works, for whom, and in what contexts.

  • Acceleration of high quality civic practice within institutions participating in NCIA’s Action Learning Programme, which generates learning and insights to inspire and guide others.

  • More communities benefit from equitable and impactful university partnerships with stakeholders in their place.

Get involved

Is your institution developing innovative civic approaches?

We would love to hear from you and share best practice, learning, and case studies across the Network. You can submit a case study using the form below.

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