Five universities have been awarded € 420.000 through the Erasmus+ strategic partnership fund to support academic staff to embed community engaged research and learning, or CERL*, in their modules over the next three years (2019-2022). The CIRCLET project – Curriculum Innovation through Research with Communities: Learning circles of Educators and Technology – will build on the skills and experiences of the five partners in working with local community organisations via Science Shops, enhanced by educational technology.

Building on the core activity of supporting the redesign of courses, CIRCLET will produce resources for academic staff in the digital era and will offer academics in each institution an opportunity to participate in (trans)national learning circles and in an online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module. These resources, once developed and piloted, will be made available to the wider Living Knowledge community with a view to supporting Science Shop practice internationally.

CIRCLET builds on a number of other projects, led by the Living Knowledge Network.

* Community Engaged Research and Learning (CERL) is an innovative approach which gives students the opportunity to participate in research and learning projects based on community ideas and needs, through the curriculum. CERL has been identified as a high-impact learning and teaching activity that educational research suggests increases student engagement and student retention. The term CERL captures a wide range of different terms for community engaged research and learning. CERL can be taken to include community-based learning, service-learning, community service learning, community-based research, participatory action research, community-based participatory research, and science shop projects.