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Regional Engagement

We connect public and voluntary sector organisations with students and researchers to co-create solutions to local societal challenges


What is the Community Partnership Hub?

The Community Partnership Hub connects public, voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations with researchers and students at the University of Exeter. Our aim is to help establish long-term, sustainable relationships which support partnering through research projects, student placements and internships, or volunteering.

We work on the principles of equity, respect, and mutual benefit. Organisations can benefit from the expertise of our students and researchers; students gain skills and connect their knowledge with real-world problems; and academics achieve wider societal impact from their research. View our principles of partnering.

The Community Partnership Hub also aims to support our Civic University Agreements and the three strategic goals outlined in the University’s Strategy 2030:

Lead meaningful action against the climate emergency and ecological crisis

Make key breakthroughs to transform human health and wellbeing.

Lead progress towards creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society.

Opportunities for partnering with students

Our students engage with community partners in a variety of ways. Ideally each engagement provides the opportunity for the students to learn new skills while the partner organisation benefits from the expertise and enthusiasm of the student.

Contact us to find out more Case studies

  • There are many different opportunities for our students to make a difference in the community. If you have a volunteering opportunity that you would like students to be involved in, please register as a provider on our Exeter Guild or Penryn Students' Union volunteering sites.
  • Also, Exeter Student Volunteers (ESV) aims to provide student-led volunteering opportunities to meet the needs of our community. ESV builds relationships between students and locals through empowering, inclusive and sustainable projects.

Case study: Exeter Connect; Film about Exeter Connect and Kinder Exeter

  • Community Engaged Learning provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning to a context outside of the classroom, by addressing societal concerns, challenges or needs in a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Many of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses encourage students to undertake an applied dissertation project with an external partner. 

Case studies: Community Law Clinic, Film about Exeter Community Law Clinic, Film about Exeter Connect and Kinder Exeter

  • Work placements are a fantastic opportunity for organisations to reap the many rewards from recruiting a University of Exeter student. They can be offered on a full- or part-time basis as part of short-term or year-long placement programmes. Students are looking for organisations across a diverse range of sectors and are interested in a variety of different roles
  • Placements are part of credit-bearing modules that students undertake as part of their degree programme. These are different to internships which are taken as extra-curricular, i.e. outside of the degree.
  • You can find more information on our placements web pages. Our pages include a step-by-step guide to help you through the placement creation, recruitment and onboarding process, as well as a list of the modules where placements are required.
  • You can also email our Placement Teams at placements@exeter.ac.uk for Exeter Campuses or placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk for our Penryn campus if you have any questions/queries.

Case study: Good Food Exeter

  • Internships are paid employment opportunities which are taken outside of the degree (extra-curricular) and provide a valuable experience that connects talented students with employers for mutual benefit.
  • Check out the internships pages on our Career Zone website or contact the team at internships@exeter.ac.uk

Case study: Hidden Exeter

Opportunities for partnering with academics

Public and voluntary organisations often seek independent research expertise which can be used to help organisational or programme development, inform policy-making, or provide evidence to support funding applications.

Meanwhile, recognising the importance of the knowledge and expertise of people outside of academia, many of our academics are keen to engage with external partners with lived experience to improve the quality, relevance and societal impact of their research.

We work on a reciprocal model, with each partner contributing and gaining something from the collaboration. 

Contact us to find out more

Case studies

Our academics could help your organisation through:


  • Primary research (such as data gathering)
  • Secondary research (such as a literature review or data analysis)
  • Evaluation support and advice
  • Methodological training
  • Consultancy (fees applicable)

Your organisation could benefit our research through:


  • Providing expertise to co-design research projects
  • Recruiting participants to research projects
  • Gathering data through e.g. focus groups
  • Disseminating research results

Get in touch today and help us connect you

If you are a student, an academic, or from a voluntary or public sector organisation, click on the following relevant link to get in touch. We will do our best to connect you with someone who can help. Alternatively please email Lindsey Anderson with any queries: regionalteam@exeter.ac.uk

Frequently asked questions

We value the knowledge and expertise of our public and voluntary sector partners. We believe that wherever possible, our teaching should connect with real-world issues and that our research should benefit wider society. Partnering with these sectors is vital to ensure our research and teaching is relevant and responsive to societal need, and to help create a fair, socially just and inclusive society.

While there are currently a great number of existing partnerships between the University and public and voluntary sector organisations, we understand that it is not easy to find the right person within the University to connect with. The Hub aims to help organisations connect with academics or students with mutual areas of interest. It also aims to build sustainable, long-term relationships between the University and public and voluntary sector organisations.

There are no fees for using the Hub’s brokering services. Research can be low or no cost if part of student dissertations or placements. Internships should usually be paid, as is required by law (although there are some exceptions for public and third sector organisations). Research by academics can be funded by small university research funding pots, organisations’ research/evaluation budgets or through applying for research grants (for bigger studies with longer timescales).

Please tell us about your organisation and what your needs are, and we will do our best to put you in touch with a colleague who can help. You can also come to us without a specific, immediate need in mind: our aim is to build long-term relationships between the University and public and voluntary sector organisations, which go beyond short-term and ad hoc collaborations.

In short, no. Our aim is to connect public and voluntary sector organisations with the right expertise: this might mean connecting you with an academic working in a relevant area or putting you in touch with someone in our Careers Zone who can help with your request. But some questions might be too large in scope, require too much in the way of resources, or be too time-critical for us to be able to respond. In the event that we can’t help, we will discuss this with you and point you towards some other resources.

It depends on the nature of the project. The majority of our students undertake research as part of a specific module and will need to plan the project up to nine months in advance of the project starting. Postgraduate dissertation projects usually take place over the summer months but will also need to be planned well in advance, which does mean that we are usually unable to respond to urgent research needs.

Paid internships can take place at any time of year and can be arranged through our Internships Team.

We are currently closely working with the following courses: MA Food Studies, BSc Business, MSc Global Sustainability Solutions, and BA Drama, as well as other courses covering History and Heritage, Politics and International Relations, Biosciences, Conservation, Geography, Marine Science, and Ecology. Students on these courses undertake work for voluntary organisations as part of their degree programmes.

However, we can also link with other students who would like to partner with an organisation to undertake an applied dissertation or do volunteer work outside the scope of their courses. If you don’t see a course that seems to correspond to your area of interest, please do get in contact and we can explore options.

Our students are diverse and bring with them a range of skills, interests and experiences. These skills might include quantitative and qualitative research, writing, social media and communication, evaluation, project management and sustainability initiatives.