Association of Commonwealth Universities Supports Impact / L’Association des universités du Commonwealth soutient l’impact

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) released their new strategic plan “The Road to 3030” on March 15, 2019. Launching the strategic plan, ACU states “The ACU believes that universities make a critical contribution to sustainable development across the Commonwealth and beyond.” Three of the five goals in this strategic plan link to knowledge mobilization and impact and the ACU can connect its efforts to others in the Commonwealth and beyond.

Le 15 mars 2019, l’Association des universités du Commonwealth (ACU) publiait son nouveau plan stratégique, The Road to 3030. L’Association a déclaré à cette occasion qu’elle est convaincue que « les universités contribuent de façon essentielle au développement durable, dans le Commonwealth et au-delà ». Trois des cinq objectifs formulés dans le plan stratégique se rapportent à la mobilisation des connaissances et à l’impact de la recherche, et l’ACU entend joindre ses efforts aux autres qui sont en cours dans le Commonwealth et au-delà.

The Road to 3030ACU is a member driven organization founded in 1913. It has over 500 member institutions in 50 countries across the Commonwealth. Their focus areas include early career researchers, gender in higher education, open science and research management and uptake.

Research uptake = knowledge mobilization so ACU and RIC have shared interests. In fact Research Impact Canada members of ACU include Dalhousie, McMaster, Memorial, Alberta, UBC, Guelph, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, York and Brighton, more than 50% of RIC membership.

ACU was the lead organization in Development Research Uptake for Sub-Saharan Africa, a network of 22 universities explicitly designed to support research uptake (= knowledge mobilization). This commitment is maintained in three of five priorities in The Road to 3030.

  1. To champion the power of higher education to improve lives
    • ACU will “promote, at the highest levels, the value of universities to society, and their role in sustainable development”
  2. To support the long-term vitality of universities
    • ACU will “share learning from local and regional initiatives to deliver wider impact”
  1. To engage and connect universities across borders, and promote collaboration among them
    • ACU will “create forums through which institutional knowledge and resources can be shared and multiplied”
  2. To deliver educational opportunities that make a positive and lasting difference
  3. To uphold the ACU’s reputation for excellence and demonstrate its impact

One mechanism that ACU can use to fulfil these knowledge mobilization related goals is the ACU Engage Community and the associated Steering Committee of which I am a member. We have been a mostly passive Steering Committee. Now there is a new ACU Strategic Plan with elements that can be supported by the Engage Community I propose ACU puts some new energy into the Steering Committee. ACU could convene the Engage Community Steering Committee to review those elements of “The Road to 2030” that relate to impact and engagement and identify actions to connect ACU to efforts around the world (Commonwealth and beyond) that can help ACU achieve the goals established in this bold strategic plan.