The University has recently become a member of UPEN. Those of us who have been here for a few years may, upon hearing this acronym, immediately think of the University of Portsmouth Environment Network, forerunner to the Sustainability and the Environment theme. But UPEN now has a new meaning for Portsmouth – the Universities Policy Engagement Network.

Founded in 2018, the Network is a community of universities and policy specialists working to increase engagement between university research and public policy. It offers a route for academics whose research has policy implications to connect with policy makers, and for policy makers to engage with the research community to seek evidence and expert advice.

UPEN also supports sharing of best practice between member universities, coordination on shared matters of interest, and the exchange of knowledge and ideas through events, training, and collaboration.

Membership of UPEN offers Portsmouth a chance to develop and grow the impact our research has on policy, providing us with opportunities to share with policy makers our expertise in areas from space and plastics to wildlife protection, sustainable cities, natural resource management, and everything in between.

Many staff who are involved in policy and research impact already receive weekly updates from the Network, but anyone else who would like to be added to the list is welcome to contact me at

There are also opportunities to attend UPEN events, to host an event ourselves, or to open up existing, relevant events to other UPEN members. We have also been invited to write blog posts for UPEN, so if anyone has anything they want to say on the topic of policy and policy engagement, please get in touch with me.

UPEN also has seven sub-committees focused on specialist areas. Two of these – Communications, and Professional Development – are currently looking for new members, so if these are areas of interest, please let me know and I can provide more information on what is required and how to express interest.

You can also check out the UPEN website for more information on the Network and what it offers: