Universities Wales supports the wide-ranging international activities of the nine Welsh universities. This includes promoting opportunities for international research collaboration, encouraging both outward student mobility and internationalisation at home, and actively promoting the Welsh HE sector internationally through ‘Study in Wales’.
We aim to inform and influence international policy in Wales, building relationships with key decision makers and representing the diversity and breadth of the Welsh higher education sector. We also work closely with Universities UK International (UUKi) to shape relevant UK, EU and International policies.
Given the substantial cultural and economic impact of universities’ international activities, Universities Wales has joined together with the Welsh Government, British Council Wales and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to form the Global Wales partnership. The project, which aims to boost both student recruitment and international research collaboration, promotes Welsh universities in key overseas markets. The aim is to build new collaborative ventures and to increase Wales’ visibility overseas attracting further inward investment. The programme operates joint outward missions, inward visits and promotional activities and events through the delivery of the ‘Study in Wales’ brand. The partnership is focusing its activities for the first three years of the project in the United States and Vietnam.
- Delivering a consistent message about the quality and diversity of the Welsh HE offer in terms of research, skills, knowledge exchange, and student experience with a view to driving further overseas investment to Wales.
International students contribute significantly to Wales’ economic as well as cultural prosperity. Universities generated £530 million of export earnings in 2014, which is equivalent to 4% of all Welsh exports. This created 7,600 jobs and generated some £400m of Welsh GVA over the same period (The Economic Impact of International Students in Wales).
- Facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships with key Welsh sectors to further develop international links and to attract inward investment and tourism.
International students and staff act as lifetime ambassadors for Wales and attract tens of thousands of visitors to Wales every year. In 2013-14 alone, it is estimated that over 50,000 of the international visits to Wales were by friends and family of international students.
- Providing increased support to institutions in their existing international activities to support the internationalisation of Welsh universities and to project a more joined up view of the Welsh offer.
Internationalisation, which includes student and staff mobility, allows domestic students and staff to demonstrate their global mindset, develop language skills, and enhance their cultural awareness – all of which benefits Wales’ economy and communities. Research has shown improved employment outcomes for mobile students compared to their non-mobile peers, with unemployment rates among mobile students lower across almost all socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, mobile students from all backgrounds reported higher average salaries than their non-mobile equivalents (Gone International 2016)
- Developing new initiatives that can contribute to the growth of the sector’s overall contribution to the Welsh economy notably in the areas of collaborative research, innovation and student recruitment.
More than three quarters of research conducted at Wales’ universities is judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). In a world where many of the challenges we face are global, it is more important than ever that we work alongside our international partners to share expertise and pool resources. For Wales to sustain and build on this international reputation, we need to maintain and increase our global research collaboration
- Working together more effectively by sharing resources, collaborating on inward missions, and organising joint outward missions.
“Working together on international collaborative projects will help grow prosperity, raise Wales’ reputation in the world and build the ‘Wales brand’ (Wales in the World: The Welsh Government’s International Agenda)