Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 27 April 2018

British Council Wales Launches Soft Power Barometer.

WWU image 1At a joint event with the Institute of Welsh Affairs, “Building a global Wales after Brexit: international perspectives on small nations and soft power”, the British Council launched the first piece of research into Wales’ soft power.  The event saw multiple sectors come together to recognise and celebrate the role of soft power in furthering Wales’ global identity. Soft Power builds a country or a region’s international influence through education, culture, public diplomacy and positive global contribution.

WWU image 2First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM gave the keynote address, highlighting the particular role universities play “Universities are a large part of Wales’ international experience”.

Prof. Iwan Davies, Chair of Global Wales, set out the importance of working together smartly to promote Wales’ offer to the world “We must be bold, and smart. If Wales is to be resilient we have to be honest and review our strengths and offering, building on them. Promoting not just welsh universities but the whole welsh university system”. The Global Wales partnership featured as a key recommendation in the report, with international student recruitment a core activity to further Wales’ global identity and soft power. Universities Wales looks forward to furthering this work with the Welsh Government, British Council and HEFCW.

Policy forum for Wales – Next steps for Research and Innovation in Wales Event

WWU image 3Unis Wales was delighted to take part in this event on Tuesday, with our Director speaking on the benefits of collaboration between universities, businesses and government on the research and innovation agenda in Wales. The event opened with keynote speeches from the new Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Peter Halligan, and Prof Graeme Reid, who presented the headline recommendations from his review of government funded research and innovation in Wales. Highlights from the event can be found using #PFWevents on twitter.

QAA Annual Conference 2018 – THE UK QUALITY SUMMIT: Delivering Impact through Innovation

WWU image 4Unis Wales Chair Prof Julie Lydon welcomed delegates to the UK Quality Summit in Cardiff this week. Welcoming the opportunity the event afforded to share the differing perspectives of the four nations of the UK, and to explore the changes in emphasis and practice that are a necessary and welcome result of political devolution, Prof Lydon also called for the sector to remember the common thread that runs through the core of our mission; the assurance of quality that keeps a British university degree recognised as the gold standard of international higher education.

WWU image 5There were also updates on how regulatory frameworks and approaches to quality assurance are developing across the UK, held together by the ‘glue’ of the revised UK Quality Code. Other speakers at the conference included NUS President Shakira Martin, Professor Abdulrasheed Abubakar, Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission , and Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning.

Universities Wales hosts roundtable at Welsh Labour conference

WWU image 6Universities Wales, alongside the Learning and Work Institute Cymru and the Open University in Wales hosted a roundtable at Welsh Labour conference on the future of skills in Wales. The roundtable was chaired by Hefin David AM and included contributions from the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan AM. Attendees included John Griffiths AM and Lee Waters AM.

Universities Wales was represented by Professor Elizabeth Treasure and Kieron Rees.

New Appointments

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 Learned Society of Wales announces Martin Pollard has been appointed as their new Chief Executive

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Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama announces Professor Helena Gaunt has been appointed as the College’s new Principle


The Children, Young People and Education Committee

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PCET technical consultation launched.

At an event as part of the Athrofa seminar series, Kirsty Williams, AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education, announced the next stage of the PCET reforms with a technical consultation that was launched on 24 April 2018. The technical consultation will run until 17 July 2018.


Political update

  • Vaughan Gething has confirmed the NHS bursary will be extended in Wales for students starting their studies in September 2019.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education has previewed a consultation asking whether sixth form provision should be added to the remit of the new authority for post-16 education and training, which will also include further and higher education. She also issued a written statementlaunching the consultation, which runs until 17 July.
  • An extra £1.4m of EU funds has been released to help employees in the advanced manufacturing sector “gain skills to drive a globally competitive Welsh economy” as part of the Swansea University-led Materials and Manufacturing Education Training and Learning (METaL) scheme.
  • The Cabinet Secretary has responded to a letter from the Children, Young People and Education Committee in connection with universities’ superannuation scheme.
  • The Welsh Government has come to an agreement with their UK counterparts on their proposed EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which will “mean areas already devolved remain devolved”. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance made a statement on the matter during Wednesday’s Plenary.

The conversation showcase:

Articles published by academics at Welsh Universities this week. 

Has the National Trust forgotten the radical countryside? (Aberystwyth)

Stimulating the pathway connecting body and brain may change chronic condition patients’ lives (Swansea)

We’ve found the best way to control Japanese knotweed (Swansea)