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News | The Civic University

UPP Foundation Awards Civic University Network £50,000 Grant

New funding to enable civic universities to lead a green recovery

The UPP Foundation, the registered charity founded by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), will announce a £50,000 grant to the Civic University Network at its national conference today. This funding will support the network to build on the strong foundation it established in year 1.

Primarily the funding will support the Civic University Network to develop a programme of activity that will enable civic universities to lead and facilitate a green recovery on campus and within their communities.

Civic universities recognise that they have a key role to pay in combating the climate emergency, and many have laid out ambitious net zero carbon reduction targets.

With large estates, civic universities can make a significant contribution to this crucial agenda through developing sustainable approaches for the use and design of campuses. In partnership with local authorities, they have a key convening role in shaping local climate change action. And, against the wider backdrop of a student population that is increasingly climate-conscious, civic universities can also enable their students and staff to engage in positive community initiatives.

The partnership between the UPP Foundation and the Civic University Network will engage university leaders in climate action and the wider work of the Network. The end result will be the production of guidance and resources for civic universities to support them as they lead, facilitate and participate in the green recovery.  As the Civic University Network moves into its second year, the funding will also help it transition towards a sustainable funding model.

The new £50,000 grant follows an initial £50,000 of seed funding provided by the UPP Foundation last year to help establish the Network, which was created following the conclusion of the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission. The renewed partnership will be formally announced at the first session of the Civic University Network’s inaugural national conference, which will include presentations from Universities Minister Michelle Donelan MP, Chair of the Network’s Advisory Board Lord Kerslake and President of the CBI, Lord Bilimoria.

Since the UPP Foundation was established in 2016, it has committed £1 million pounds in grant funding to over 30 pilot projects.

Director of the UPP Foundation, Richard Brabner said

As the founder of the Civic University Network we are thrilled with the progress it has made in just 12 months. There’s no bigger issue than the climate emergency and we are delighted to be working with the Network in its second year to support universities and the wider sector meet their environmental responsibilities, and lead the green recovery in their local communities.

Greg Burke, Programme Director of the Civic University Network, said:

We are delighted that the UPP Foundation will continue to support the Civic University Network in year two. We look forward to working with them on exploring the key role that universities can play in combating the climate emergency. In partnership with other anchor institutions, universities can play a key convening role in shaping local climate change action.




  • The UPP Foundation was created in 2016 by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the leading provider of on campus student accommodation infrastructure and support services in the UK.  The UPP Foundation is a registered charity that offers grants to universities, charities and other higher education bodies. In recent years, as higher education has expanded, the burden of paying for a degree has shifted towards the individual. This presents difficulties in maintaining the ‘University for the Public Good’, as well as ensuring there is greater equity in going to, succeeding at and benefiting from the university experience. The UPP Foundation helps universities and the wider higher education sector overcome these challenges.
  • The Civic University Network will continue to take forward a range of initiatives in year 2 including the continued development of the civic framework to help universities assess their civic impact.
  • The Civic University Network was created out of the UPP Foundation’s 2019 Civic University Commission. The Commission challenged universities to re-shape their role and responsibility to their communities to realise their potential as drivers of a new civic agenda.
  • After a competitive bidding process led by the UPP Foundation, Sheffield Hallam University were awarded funding to host the Network, and launched the Network in April 2020. The Network is funded by the UPP Foundation, Department for Education, Carnegie UK Trust and Arts Council England.
  • The Network’s role is to support the growing Civic University movement by sharing best practice between participating universities, support those HEIs who are developing Civic University Agreements (a key recommendation of the Commission), develop a peer review scheme so that universities increase their civic impact, and connect universities with other sectors which are prioritising issues around ‘place’ to level up the economy and society.



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