Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 13 July 2018

Kirsty Williams announces £3.5m for promoting Welsh universities in a post-Brexit world

Global Wales Logo L(Bilingual)(Boxed)On Thursday 12 July 2018, Welsh Government announced it is investing £3.5m in a programme run by Wales’ universities to drive international partnerships and promote Wales as a study destination in a post Brexit world.

The new funding is for Global Wales, a partnership between Universities Wales, British Council Wales, the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The support is via the Welsh Government’s £50m EU Transition Fund to help business, public services and others prepare for the impacts of Brexit.

Established in 2015, Global Wales promotes Wales’ universities in priority overseas markets: Vietnam and the United States. This funding will see a significant increase in the scope and scale of the programme to deliver the Study in Wales brand globally, develop existing activity in the US and Vietnam, and to expand to other markets. The aim is to drive education exports and boost Wales’ profile as an outward-facing knowledge-economy.

Both Vietnam and the US have been identified as two increasingly important markets for a post-Brexit Wales. The funding will reflect this by supporting a Wales-Vietnam scholarship programme, identifying areas for joint-research and promoting Wales as a distinct study destination for Vietnam, the United States and other key markets, including Europe.

The Education Secretary’s announcement coincides with the visit to Wales by His Excellency Tran Ngoc An, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, which will see discussions on strengthening educational links between the two countries.


The National Assembly for Wales’ Economy, Infrastructure and Skills (EIS) Committee Stakeholder Event

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Unis Wales attended the EIS Committee Stakeholder event this week where they raised important issues for the sector for the Committee to consider such as the impact of Brexit on research and innovation funding in Wales, the future of skills in Wales in light of automation and artificial intelligence and the need for the Reid Review’s recommendations to be implemented.


Student Funding Changes

Doctoral loan repayment changes 2018/19

On 6 July 2018 the Welsh Government laid regulations amending the arrangements for postgraduate doctoral loans, lowering the repayment threshold to £21,000 p.a. and repayment rate to 6% from 2018/19 in line with England.

Partial cancellation of student debt 2018/19

On 11 July 2018 the Welsh Government laid regulations to cancel outstanding debts of up to £1,500 for full-time undergraduate students in respect of maintenance loans for 2018/2019, when they start repaying their loans.  This continues a practice of debt write-off for students in previous years.


New UKRI scheme for overseas researchers to come to the UK

On 6 July 2018, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), launched its new scheme to allow non-EEA researchers, scientists and academics to come to the UK for up to two years.

The new ‘UKRI-Science, Research and Academia’ scheme, which allows non-EEA researchers, scientists and academics to come to the UK for up to two years, was announced by Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes. The new scheme, which is being added to the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)) visa route, has been introduced to reflect and encourage the ongoing growth of the research sector in the UK. It will be operated by UKRI and will mean that they, along with 12 approved research organisations, such as the Natural History Museum, are able to directly sponsor highly skilled individuals, such as specialist technicians, to work and train in the UK. The sponsor organisations will be monitored by UKRI as the scheme owner and they will also require individual Tier 5 sponsor licences.


Political Update

  • The announcement that Ken Skates will back down from the Welsh Labour leadership running has highlighted the lack of cabinet members from North Wales. Concerns have been raised as the news may put-off North Wales residents from voting in future.
  • The Children, Young People and Education Committee has launched an inquiry into – How much do you know about the Welsh Baccalaureate?
  • New members of a Brexit advisory group was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance.


The Conversation showcase: Highlighting the latest work by academics at Welsh universities

)Method of making oxygen from water in zero gravity raises hope for long-distance space travel (Swansea)

Giving your baby solid food early won’t help them sleep better (Swansea)

World Cup: Russia isn’t safe for LGBT fans, and Qatar 2022 will be worse (Swansea)

Booker Prize: tradition of multilingual writers seems to be dying out – more’s the pity (Swansea)

Beate Zschäpe guilty: the five-year neo-Nazi trial that shook Germany (Cardiff)

Huntington’s disease: how brain training games could help (Cardiff)

Gene drives accelerate evolution – but we need brakes (Cardiff)

The real life dangers of learning self-defence from viral videos – martial arts experts (Cardiff Met)

Theresa May was right to reimpose collective ministerial responsibility – it’s the only way to govern (Bangor)

Thomas Edison: visionary, genius or fraud? (Aberystwyth)

Wanting to live a ‘normal-perfect’ life is making women unhealthy (Aberystwyth)

NHS was not solely modelled on a Welsh workmen’s medical society (Aberystwyth)