Public engagement symposium in Oct 2014
PE symposium in Oct 14
Wednesday 23 July 2014 -
18:00 to 20:00
Conference Square M+, “Success” meeting room (1st floor)

“The future relationship between universities and society: public engagement at British and Japanese universities”

Both UK and Japanese universities are confronted with ever higher expectations against a background of globalisation and rapid social change. They find themselves needing to undertake fundamental and wide-reaching reform of their education and research activities in order to meet the demands of society that they act as centres for knowledge creation and the development of human resources. They are under constant pressure to demonstrate the value of higher education to society. In the face of this situation, a serious debate has begun in both countries on the measures necessary to deepen the trust between universities and society, and to establish new forms of collaboration that will allow them to jointly produce and develop original knowledge.

The symposium on “The Relationship between Public Engagement, Research Impact and the Innovation Process” held by the British Council in October last year presented an overview of public engagement  activities in the UK, as well as the challenges involved. Following this symposium, there were many calls for an opportunity to learn from concrete examples of the measures being undertaken by individual universities. This seminar aims to meet those requests. Japanese and British universities will share examples of their public engagement activities, with the aim of exploring ways to stimulate further development of this work in both countries. It will moreover provide opportunities to discuss possibilities for collaboration between the two countries in this area.  (Simultaneous interpretation will be available).   

Date and time: Wednesday 23 July 2014, 18:00-20:00
Venue: Conference Square M+, “Success” meeting room  (1st floor) (Mitsubishi Building, 2-5-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo 100-0005)
Intended participants: University academic, administrative staff and students, government personnel
Applications: Please apply via the online application form (No participation fee; prior application required)


18:00-18:05 Opening remarks from the organizer

18:05-18:45 Keynote speech: “The current status of public engagement in the UK, and an introduction to the measures taken by King’s College London”

  • Christopher Coe (Director of Public Engagement, King’s College London)
    The speech will discuss the ways in which public engagement activities have been developed and promoted at British universities, and how effective they have been. It will also look at the significance for each university of putting in place a public engagement strategy. Moreover, the speaker will introduce the public engagement measures undertaken at King’s College London, along with their results.

18:45-18:55 Q & A

18:55-19:15 Keynote speech: “The importance of public engagement for Japanese universities

  • Tetsuya Shirai, Ph.D. (University Research Administrator, Research Administration Office, Kyoto University) 
    The talk will outline the reasons for the promotion of public engagement at Japanese universities, as well as examples of actual public engagement activities undertaken at Kyoto University and the prospect for the future. 

19:15-20:00 Panel discussion 
The panel will discuss the potential to build on the background of public engagement in the UK and Japan laid out in the keynote speeches and collaborate to address common challenges faced in integrating the principle of public engagement into university culture and pursuing the social mission of higher education.


  • Christopher Coe (Director of Public Engagement, King’s College London)
  • Tetsuya Shirai (University Research Administrator, Research Administration Office, Kyoto University)


  • Azusa Tanaka (Head of Education, British Council Japan)


Public Engagement

An expression used in UK higher education policy to denote the reciprocal relationship between universities and society. The target “public” is extremely broad, including the general population, civil society organizations, public organizations and industry, among others.   In the UK, there are a wide range of projects to integrate public engagement into the organizational culture of universities and build a framework for a mutually beneficial relationship between universities and society.

Please see also the overview report and related materials from the symposium on “The Relationship between Public Engagement, Research Impact and the Innovation Process” held in October 2013 as the first in the British Council’s UK-Japan dialogue series “University reform and innovation in the UK and Japan”: