Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 28 April 2017

Mr Gorilla update

You have to hand it to him: he’s now reached the last leg of the London marathon – 21 miles completed at the time of writing. We’ve got your back in Unis Wales, Mr Gorilla – particularly as our Political and Public Affairs Policy Adviser, Olivia Jones, is your sister!


EU students starting in 2018/19 are eligible for financial support, Welsh Government confirms

The eligibility of students from EU countries outside the UK for grants and loans to study in Wales will continue unchanged for those starting courses in 2018/19. Eligible EU nationals will receive support for the duration of their course.

More: Student Finance Wales


7th European University Business conference, 6-7 April

Bryn Jones, Head of Knowledge Exchange, Bangor University participated at this event in Brussels.

The event attracted an audience of over 500 representatives from universities and businesses from across Europe, and included a presentation on the results of a Europe wide survey on the current state of cooperation between universities and businesses.

Responses from business and universities indicated that 85% of businesses worked with universities and 50% of academics who responded stated that they cooperate with business in either their research or their education. The findings also highlighted the barriers to cooperation from the perspective of HE management, researchers and businesses touching on areas such as funding, resources, bureaucracy and cultural differences. Key motivators were also addressed including the development of a pool of graduates with an understanding of business, greater insights into academic research and the potential for new discoveries and innovations.

Panel discussions focused on partnerships and impact while a series of breakout sessions explored facets of collaboration in greater detail. Bryn spoke at the session on cooperation for regional development where he outlined the challenges and opportunities for greater collaboration in Wales and highlighted the content of the Innovation Nation publication and the case studies. Fellow panellists were from Spain (Campus Iberus), Poland (Polish Academy of Science) and Belgium (European Society for Engineers and Industrialists).

Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances also featured during the conference with an exhibition of funded projects and a panel session on success factors. The event also included presentations from Malta and Estonia – the current and next EU presidencies – and from the Commission where the Commissioner for Education, Tibor Navracsics, stated that the conference will inform the development of a new communication on the modernisation of HE which will be published next month.

WHEB will provide more information on the event in its monthly report which will be sent out to colleagues next week.


Political Update – Please note that the Assembly was in recess this week

  • EU students applying for a place at Welsh universities for the 2018/19 academic year will be eligible for financial support, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced earlier this week.
  • Skills and Science Minister, Julie James, has welcomed new figures showing a decline in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) during 2016. The full statistics are available here.
  • Four Welsh competitors have been selected to represent the UK in the largest international skills competition, WorldSkills, held in Abu Dhabi in October this year.
  • A summit aimed at ensuring that Welsh-medium text books are available has been called by the Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.



  • First Minister Carwyn Jones is to be asked the following question during Tuesday’s forthcoming Plenary session:

Sian Gwenllian (Arfon): Will the First Minister make a statement on plans for a medical school for north Wales? (Question 2; Questions to the First Minister

  • The Children, Young People and Education Committee is to debate the report of its inquiry into the Education Improvement Grant: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller, and Minority Ethnic Children during Wednesday’s Plenary session. The report can be read in full here, while the Welsh Government’s response to its recommendations can be viewed here. Ahead of the debate, the Assembly’s Research Service has published a briefing document.


Unis Wales Update

This week has seen us drafting responses to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee inquiries on City Deals and the Regional Economies of Wales and Apprenticeships in Wales 2017 as well as preparing briefing for the evidence sessions next week on the Reid Review.