University for the Common Good

Glasgow Caledonian University will, by 2020, have a global reputation for delivering social benefit and impact through education, research and social innovation. We will be recognised as the University for the Common Good that transforms lives, enriches cities and communities, innovates for social and economic impact, engages globally and aligns with others in partnership and collaboration to deliver our goals.

The idea

Social Innovation organisations in Scotland and beyond say again and again that the areas where they need most support are in building strong, collaborative networks and finding ways to communicate their projects’ aims.

Common Good First (CGF) is a programme developed by Glasgow Caledonian University.  It is the first of its kind to try to meet these needs by facilitating an exchange of grassroots solutions to pressing social problems, both in the UK and around the world.

A panel of renowned academics, working in cross-disciplinary teams, will compare and evaluate these community solutions. In turn, the database of these projects will offer research opportunities to academia, real-world examples of social innovation for learning and teaching across the University and practical opportunities for student engagement.

This website features solution-finders telling their stories and offers an insight into what our much more ambitious platform might look like in 2016.

To begin with, we are featuring projects whose work focuses on youth and education.  In the future, we aim to consider projects with a focus on housing and environment (including water and sanitation) and health and well-being (including food security).

Tshepang Programme for Orphaned & Vulnerable children, Johannesburg.
Tshepang Programme for Orphaned & Vulnerable children, Johannesburg.

The pilot and our partners

The project pilot, which ran between September 2015 and February 2016, evaluated how we work with community projects, how the academic family can input to these initiatives and how the communities themselves can contribute to research and teaching at GCU.

For this proof of concept, GCU partnered with the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and the Social Economy at the University of Johannesburg to identify projects in both Glasgow and the Gauteng province in South Africa.

In July 2016, Common Good First was awarded a European Union Erasmus+ award to develop the platform and roll out digital storytelling modules in communities across South Africa. A consortium of six South African universities and six institutions in Europe will work on this, with a view to launching in Summer 2019.