York St John University’s International Collaboration of the Year project entry has been highly commended in the coveted Times Higher Education Awards.

The Awards, now in their 9th year, celebrate the best of the higher education sector and give a unique opportunity to recognise the outstanding achievements of UK higher education institutions.

York St John University’s International Collaboration of the Year entry reflects the University’s on-going international partnership working, outlining its unique project which aims to enhance the study and practice of Social Economy and Social Capital in Higher Education.

The three year project is led by York St John University with the support from University partners in Peru, Portugal and Spain.  It aims to gain an in-depth knowledge of the nature, origins and practice of a people-centred economic approach, with its own values framework, thinking and behavioural model.

The project also seeks to understand and give recommendations on how this system could interact and link more efficiently with other economic systems and mechanisms, such as corporate social responsibility, to enhance the values of equality, efficiency and reciprocity for human development.

The project aims to develop the quality and attractiveness of social economy and social capital studies in higher education in Europe by drawing upon worldwide expertise and experience.  It will also build on, and improve, current European higher education curricula in the subject to increase its relevance to European, African, Asian and North and South American students and workers in the field.

The project has successfully gained the support from the Erasmus Mundus Programme as well as from United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the OECD Forum on Social Innovation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the UK. A close link has also been forged with representatives of the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association Chapters in Africa, Europe, India, Middle East and North and Latin America.

Catalina Quiroz Niño, co-ordinator of the international  project at York St John University, along with Margaret Meredith, who is senior lecturer in primary education at York St John, explain the next steps for the project:

“Over 30 Universities and NGOs worldwide have become Associate Partners of the project and over 600 people have signed up as friends of the project across the globe. Looking ahead, we want to attract more universities worldwide to study social enterprise in their regions to gain a better understanding of how the social economy impacts on people’s lives and communities. We are also seeking to understand how universities teach social enterprise and promote it on campus.

“The involvement of students, teachers and social enterprises working together in the study has been a significant step forward. We want them now to make further use of virtual platforms, such as Facebook and blogs that have been created, to further promote an international dialogue about business for social purposes

“We will also aim to establish a unique social enterprise consultancy with our partners to provide advice to universities wishing to teach and develop social enterprise and the wider social economy. In particular, we are keen to promote and see the development of social enterprises in the enterprise incubator at York St John University’s Phoenix Centre.”

Interested parties can sign up as friends of the project at https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/socialeconomy

York St John University was also shortlisted for the University of the Year, Outstanding employer (engagement initiative) and Excellence and Innovation in the Arts Times Higher Education Awards 2013

For further press information please contact Marketing T: 01904 876503 E: marketing@yorksj.ac.uk