The Sir David Watson Awards recognises the combined efforts of community and university partners towards making a difference to the lives of people in their shared community. These awards have been created in memory of Professor Sir David Watson, honouring his leadership in encouraging community-university engagement.
Community-university engagement is still an emerging field, which can make establishing and developing effective partnerships between community movements and academics difficult. Each year, the awards will recognise outstanding examples of community-university engagement from across the world, highlighting their impact and raising awareness.
Across the globe, innovative collaborations between communities and academia are addressing some of today’s most complex challenges around social justice, community resilience and inequality. The award scheme will offer winning projects a modest financial reward – but, more importantly, the awards will attract national and international publicity and exposure. This will allow participants from around the world to share stories of their combined efforts, deepening the impact of their work locally and helping to raise awareness of community-university partnership work globally.
The ‘Professor Sir David Watson Award for Community-University Partnerships’ will acknowledge his leadership in community university engagement and social responsibility in higher education. It is sponsored by the Talloires Network, a global network of community-engaged universities that Sir David helped to build and lead, and and supported by an international group of networks and leaders in the field, including Drs Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon, the UNESCO co-chairs for Community Based Research.
The award process was launched at the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement Engage conference in Bristol, UK on 29 November 2016. The winners of the inaugural award were the Gateway Project from Cardiff University and the 2nd running of the award begins in December 2018.