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Review of UCL staff engagement with the Third Sector

This review explores the level and nature of engagement of UCL  (University College London) staff with the Third Sector. The research focused on types of engagement that are linked with participant’s role, responsibilities, expertise, University work or research areas within the University over the last five years. The research involved nine in-depth interviews with members of UCL staff across two departments and an online survey completed by 172 staff members.

One of the most striking findings in the research relates to the willingness of staff to engage; more than half (55%) of all respondents reported engaging with the Third Sector as part of their UCL role in the last five years. Other findings also include:

  • Staff participated in a range of activities. Speaking at events and developing collaborations were the two most common engagement activities
  • Respondents were most likely to get involved if asked directly for help
  • Staff reported a variety of personal and professional benefits from engagement, including broadening experiences and making professional contacts
  • Participation is perceived to have a range of societal, economic and academic impacts (however these were hard for staff to identify) including enhancing research capacity; developing the knowledge and skills of TSOs; and enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of TSOs
  • The biggest barrier to engagement for staff is time, particularly due to work pressures
  • Recommendations to promote further engagement with the Third Sector include the development of an employer supported volunteering scheme and developing clearer ties between Third Sector engagement and staff development
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