In the 2017-2021 strategic program of Maastricht University, it is stated that over the coming years the university aims to:
- Take its social responsibility seriously by linking the university to society, from the local to the global level;
- Have an impact by deploying high-level research and innovation to resolve societal challenges;
- Address the most pressing issues in society today, both in education and research, through close collaboration between different disciplines.
At the opening of the Academic Year 2017-2018 this intention was made concrete by an action research competition. This competition was a meeting place for UM researchers, who are looking to resolve societal challenges by engaging the community in their research. We quickly found that each of us was facing similar challenges. Most importantly, we found that each of us, in our different faculties and disciplines, felt quite alone in facing these challenges, without much of a guideline or help or even like-minded researchers to talk to. It is therefore, from our desire to have a positive impact on society with our research, as well as our heartfelt need to meet and collaborate with researchers who have a similar ambition, that we propose to found a Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research (MPCER).
Our mission is to create a multidisciplinary platform for employees at Maastricht University who do/support, or are interesting in doing/supporting, community-engaged research. We define “community-engaged research” as research that has all of the following three characteristics:
- Intends to have an impact by deploying research to resolve societal challenges
- Actively involves the relevant community in the research process
- Shares the research results with the relevant community