Trudi Learmouth and Professor Debra Myhill.

New link between the University of Exeter and local community

Academics from the University of Exeter and lifelong learners from the local community are celebrating a new agreement which will help them work more closely together.

Exeter U3A, a member of the University of the Third Age and academics from the University of Exeter signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony this week.

The new formal link will support efforts already ongoing to create mutually beneficial relationships between academics and U3A members. It should enable more U3A members to collaborate with academics in research projects, attend lectures and be involved in events.

The University of the Third Age is a unique organisation which provides life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities for retired and semi-retired people to come together and learn together.

The U3A movement is supported by its national organisation, the Third Age Trust. There are currently 361,078 members of 964 U3As in the UK. Exeter U3A has almost 500 members and 50 special interest groups.

U3A members currently act as lay members on University of Exeter committees. Members are also helping with University of Exeter Medical School trials and other research into the 1960’s and health and safety. They have attended talks by University of Exeter academics on varied topics, the science of colour, the invention of money, wave particle duality, how Germany views its Nazi past and myths and evidence about the EU.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a ceremony at the University of Exeter this week.

Bertram Brockington, from Exeter U3A, who is coordinating the liaison between the group and the University of Exeter, said: “The aim is not just for academics to talk to us. We are not just a passive audience, and want to use our life experience and expertise to support research.

“In the past two years our relationship with the University has gone from strength to strength. We have had talks by experts in their field, presentations by research students and involvement in research.”

Professor Debra Myhill, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, said: “We greatly value the extremely positive relationships already created between members of Exeter U3A and academics, and hope this agreement will allow more to flourish.

“The passion and enthusiasm of Exeter U3A members has been an important contribution to University life. We are all proud to contribute to the culture of lifelong learning in the city.”

Date: 4 March 2016

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