Keywords: Public Engagement; Impact; Research Funding; Educational Outcomes; Assessment Policies.
The article contributes to the debate on the future of European universities by investigating a relatively new policy agenda - the public engagement agenda - that aims at reconciling market-driven strategies and performance based funding with universities' civic and societal engagements. The article intends to shed light on the relationship between the increased marketization of higher education and the universities' civic engagement missions. Universities are key actors for knowledge transfer, and national economic growth, as well as for promoting social change and participation. Based on a discussion of the main policy pressures on higher education and the reforms that have been introduced on research funding and evaluation, the second part of the essay addresses a variety of issues related to the introduction of the public engagement agenda in the UK and Italy, with a view to tackling the quality / quantity trade-off.