Panellists at the 2019 Lancaster Exchange (L-R): Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Chancellor, Lancaster University; Yak Patel, Chief Executive, CVS; Rhiannon Jones, Former Students’ Union President; Alistair Eagles, CEO, Seatruck Ferries; Professor Dame Sue Black, Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement, Lancaster University

Lancaster University’s next public forum will be held on the evening of 12th March in Lancaster Town Hall.

Members of the public and key figures in the local and regional community will join University staff and students once again and this year will explore the question: “What is Lancaster University’s role in its place?”

What is the Lancaster Exchange?

The Lancaster Exchange is an interactive, annual public meeting. Helping to inform our civic role, the Lancaster Exchange is an opportunity for members of the University to engage directly with our local community and a wide range of stakeholders and attendees will discuss the development of the University, as well as the contribution it can make to the wider community and regional economy. It also gives participants the opportunity to find out more about the University’s current educational, research and engagement activities.

What happened at the 2019 Lancaster Exchange?

The first Lancaster Exchange in 2019 was attended by over 100 people from a broad range of groups, including regional businesses, elected Councillors and local authorities, voluntary and community organisations, student groups and the general public. As well as providing a brief update on University achievements and plans, the meeting explored the role of the University and how we can work together for the benefit of our communities around four themes: Economic Development, Heritage and Culture, Digital Innovation, and Healthy Communities.

Here are some of the themes that emerged from the first Exchange:

  • Developing a University presence in the city – Our ongoing programme of engagement in Lancaster and the wider district was high on the agenda. This now includes new academic space in The Castle, study space and free law clinics for local residents in The Storey, and supporting local community events such as Light up Lancaster, Morecambe Carnival and Northern Expo. We also run an annual public events programme of free lectures and drop-in events which provide an opportunity for the local community to find out more about the research and teaching which takes place at the University.
  • The University’s role as a facilitator or partner – Thoughts were shared around the University’s role as a convener, highlighting that we could do more to bring together individuals and organisations, and provide a strong local voice which contributes to transformational projects. We are already working in partnership with Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to help to bring the ambitious plans for Eden North to fruition. We’re also continuing to develop this role further through projects such as Beyond Imagination, a three-year project which will explore and demonstrate how cutting-edge design research can create a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable world.
  • Accessing University expertise and research – The University is working with local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, businesses, and government to foster productivity and growth with SMEs. We have delivered knowledge exchange programmes with a value in excess of £220M over the last twenty years and an independent review of our impact has found that for every £1 of public investment in Lancaster University, we deliver between £18-£28 of economic impact. We want to build on the success of programmes such as the North West pilot of the government’s Made Smarter initiative, for which we are the lead University. We also want to further explore how the Centre for Global Eco-innovation (CGE) and other such initiatives can assist companies to explore and transition towards a sustainable low carbon economy. 

What will happen at the 2020 Lancaster Exchange?

Building on the themes and discussions which emerged at the first Lancaster Exchange in 2019, we will be exploring the University’s role in contributing to the development of the region as a healthy, prosperous and sustainable place. 

The next Lancaster Exchange will be held on Thursday 12th March, from 5pm in Lancaster Town Hall.

Register to attend

If you would like to find out more about The Lancaster Exchange or any of the topics in this update, please contact Engagement Manager Abi Lucy-Lloyd: