Session 21

21. Social Responsibility and/or Community Engagement Applied for Collaborative Research and Mutual Learning

Currently the world is facing issues on economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects in a more revolutionary connected way than in years before. One of the main challenges is to identify which among possible actors could be the leaders of future changes facing these aspects and their role in society. In this regard, over the years, universities are progressively building and playing an important role, through new research strategies linked towards social responsibility within communities. These new strategies are based on the concept of expanding research, teaching and learning beyond the boundaries of the university campus. The issue regarding universities and social responsibility takes on a greater relevance compared to the past. Around the world, there are many universities exchanging knowledge and experiences concerning how they are acting with their communities. Universities are increasingly becoming organizations that seek to comprise social and civic aspects in their areas of research, in particular, in the area of for social urban regeneration. In this sense, the universities in general are adapting their action strategies according to the local needs of their cities and communities, therefore playing a role as responsible training agents in boosting social cohesion and forming inclusive and sustainable environments. The role of universities is becoming more socially active through promoting co-production of knowledge and new innovative educational practices combining the engagement of students and communities to build a better society. Moreover, the complex of contemporary cities and their urban dynamics and challenges are demanding from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) new approach in the process of teaching and learning in order to plan cities for social inclusion. Actually, the concept of participation has become a relevant aspect, once local communities are playing an important role as active agents that are able to transform their own environment, social and cultural needs in order to achieve urban regeneration. In this sense, it is important to reinforce the role that universities can play as agents in the development of mutual learning between them and the communities, but it is also necessary to highlight a reflexive thinking about the challenges and the methodological approach that universities are facing during the process of development of collaborative research, in the co-production of knowledge and in the enrichment of the educational process to achieve changes in society. Therefore, this suggested session topic for the interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary, participatory/and/or collaborative research methods is oriented to receive papers that present a methodological aspect related to the role of universities and their research approach to achieve mutual learning, by involving different actors in this process. In addition, papers that are related to the themes of collaborative research, community engagement and social responsibility as a way to improve research methods.