Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 17 April 2015

News – UUK Vice Chancellor Delegation to Brussels

A delegation of over 50 Vice Chancellors and Pro-Vice Chancellors travelled to Brussels this week to meet with European politicians and policy-makers to discuss important EU policy developments as part of a UUK and UK HE International Unit delegation. The delegation pushed for a reversal to the proposed cuts to Horizon 2020 to finance the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and proposed a formal guarantee that an adequate proportion of EFSI funding would be channelled directly into research and innovation through a competitive process on the basis of excellence. The delegation included several Welsh representatives, including Profs. Colin Riordan, April McMahon, Lydon Vice Chancellors of Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University and the University of South Wales and Prof. Mohamed Loutfi, Pro-Vice Chancellor International at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

News – OER15 Conference

This year’s Open Education Conference (OER15) was held in Wales this week for the first time. The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff was host to some of the key names in Open Education from across the world who came together to discuss research and practice in the adoption of Open Education in all sectors of Education and Training.

You can now watch all 4 key note addresses on youtube.

News – International Unit Newton Fund Network

The International Unit has just established its Newton Fund Network.  The Network will operate in a similar way to the IU’s other Communities of Practice in that it is intended as a functional community within which members can learn more about Newton Fund opportunities and share experiences and best practice. It will also be a central point for collecting and collating feedback about the sector’s experience of the programme.  Meetings will take place approximately twice a year.  For more information including how to become a member please click here. Alternatively please email us or

News – International Innovation Report

The UK Higher Education International Unit is producing a report on UK universities and international innovation, which will include a number of case studies seeking to highlight good practice within the sector. The project invites UK university staff to discuss their successes and experiences – positive, challenging, or otherwise – and the lessons learned. The report will aim to generate significant impact on release, to inform UK policy making, and will be distributed to overseas ministries of education, funding councils, innovation agencies, and representative bodies – providing an excellent opportunity for featured institutions to benefit from international profile.  If you are interested in taking part, please send a brief summary of your interest, the project you wish to propose for inclusion, and your contact details to: Mike Galsworthy ( and Dr Chris Coleridge with the subject “UUK international innovation.”

News – PGCE (FE) Initial Teacher Training Incentives in 2015/16

The Welsh Government reported on 9 April 2015 that the Minister for Education and Skills is being asked to decide if PGCE (FE) Initial Teacher Training Incentives should be available across all subjects in the 2015/16 academic year, with a higher grant rate payable to those studying to teach STEM subjects, literacy and numeracy and Welsh to reflect current recruitment needs and funding priorities in those subjects (see here).

Publication – HEFCW circular – 2015 National Student Survey: Publication of data

On 10 April 2015, HEFCW published circular W15/06HE which provides information on the next steps in the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS) process, including an update on the thresholds for publication and a timetable for when institutions will be able to access their results via the NSS results and Unistats websites.

The circular can be found here and please direct any queries to Dr Cliona O’Neill (

Publication – HEFCW circular – Unistats and the Key Information Set: Data collection timetable and changes for 2015

On 10 April 2015, HEFCW published circular W15/07HE which provides information on the processes and timetable for higher and further education institutions to submit their 2015 Key Information Set (KIS) data, so it can be published on the Unistats website in September 2015. It also covers the changes resulting from the consultation on data publication thresholds and aggregation for Unistats and the National Student Survey (NSS) and other ongoing updates to the Unistats website. The circular can be found here and please direct any queries to Dr Cliona O’Neill (

Consultation – Health Professional Education Investment Review Report

The outcomes of the Evans Review of Health Professional Education Investment were published on 14 April 2015 (see here).  The Welsh Government have asked for comments on the Report’s recommendations by 25 May 2015, including:

  • the establishment of a new single organisation for Wales which brings together the strategic aspects of workforce planning, education commissioning and workforce development and design for all aspects of the NHS workforce.
  • a refreshed strategic vision for NHS Wales which provides the longer term context for shaping the workforce of the future
  • an NHS culture which demonstrably supports lifelong learning
  • a greater emphasis on community based training to support the changes required in service delivery
  • a  more cohesive programme of work experience and apprenticeships designed to provide young people with greater exposure to the opportunities that exist to participate in the delivery of health care services
  • greater opportunities for co-professional education and training together with new approaches to training within areas where there are difficulties in recruiting both substantive staff and trainees.

Consultation response – Unis Wales response letter to HEFCW’s widening access programme of action

Following HEFCW’s Widening Access conference in Dec 2014, the Welsh Government asked HEFCW to prepare and submit a Widening Access Programme of Action. Universities Wales have written to HEFCW in response to the consultation, which can be found on our website.  The deadline for submissions is Monday 20th April and HEFCW will be submitting their revised programme of action to the Welsh Government by 1 June 2015.

Representation – Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) Board of Directors

Dr Christopher Turner, Clerk to the Board at Cardiff University, is the Unis Wales representative on the OIA Board until the end of this academic year. We are seeking nominations from clerks to represent Unis Wales when Dr Turner’s duties come to an end and would ask that your submit your nominations to Kate Owen at by Friday 29 May 2015.