New position will help Newcastle University create stronger local partnerships and build on the social and economic contribution it makes locally and internationally.

Jane Robinson has been appointed Newcastle University’s first Dean of Engagement and Place.

Jane, who was previously Chief Operating Officer at Durham University and Chief Executive of Gateshead Council, will be bringing years of experience in the worlds of higher education and the public sector to her new role. She also has held positions in the cultural sector, including Director of External Relations at Arts Council England.

Her focus will be to look at how Newcastle University’s world-leading research and expertise can be used to drive excellence, creativity and impact in the North East region and beyond.

Jane will be working with key partners such as Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and the newly formed North of Tyne Combined Authority, as well as voluntary, community and social enterprise partners. She will play a leading role in the University’s new Engagement and Place Strategy, which will be launched in May.

Newcastle University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Julie Sanders said: “We are all really delighted to have Jane join the Engagement and Place team at such an exciting moment for the University. Our staff and students have achieved amazing things in recent years working with passion and commitment in place-based contexts.

“From recent announcements about the Campus for Ageing and Vitality to our work with cultural venues and young people as part of the City of Dreams initiative we have the opportunity to shape future policy and to contribute to societal, cultural and economic wellbeing in the region in really meaningful ways over the next decade.”

Jane’s appointment comes at a time of a growing national focus on the role universities in their community. Last month, Newcastle University signed a Civic University Agreement, pledging its support for the local area.

The agreement is one of a number of recommendations in a report by the Civic University Commission, of which Emeritus Professor John Goddard was Vice-Chair.

Jane, who will be made Professor of Practice, took up her new role this month.