Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 24th November 2017

Research launched by Unis Wales this week demonstrates the significant and positive value of international students to Wales. 

At an event hosted by the British Council, senior leaders from higher education and the wider Welsh community gathered to hear the headline findings of the report, and celebrate the positive contribution of international students to Wales.hh

The research, conducted by Viewforth consulting, found  that in 2015/16, international students and their visitors generated £716m of Welsh output. This significant economic contribution was generated through both on-campus and off-campus expenditure, producing over  £372m of Welsh Gross Value Added (GVA), and generating 6850 Full Time Equivalent jobs.

The report received extensive coverage in the local and national media, with regional press picking up on the distribution of impact and its effect on the local economies.

During the launch event, two recent international student graduates shared their experiences of studying in Wales, and their successes in establishing their own businesses following graduation. Their stories demonstrated the positive and significant value our international students bring to Wales, and their role in contributing to Wales’ business and industry, and overall economic growth.

The full report is available on the website here, and you can follow #HEimpact17 on twitter for coverage from the launch. Thank you to all those who attended and supported the launch.


Professor Sir Mark Walport launches beta release of konfer

Professor Sir Mark Walport, CEO-designate of UK Research and Innovation, last week launched the beta release of konfer – a unique innovation brokerage tool opening up research, researchers and services in UK universities to businesses and other organisations looking for new ideas and collaborations.

The idea is simple: Google meets LinkedIn for university collaboration.  You search for what you want – an expert, a paper, a piece of equipment, a business or charity partner.  And you email the person via konfer and if the contact wants to connect you are off.

“konfer is a unique innovation tool opening up research, researchers and services in UK universities to businesses and other organisations looking for new ideas and collaborations. It will be helpful in translating the brilliant research within our universities into jobs, growth and innovation to support the economy.” said Professor Sir Mark Walport.

Created by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) with the Research Councils (RCUK) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (England) konfer will make it easier to find collaboration opportunities and partners.

David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE and Executive Chair Designate of Research England, said: konfer promotes stronger commercialisation, business and policy links and wider societal engagement with publicly funded research. It opens out what universities and research institutes do to a wider audience and I’m delighted to see it reaching full launch stage following development work with universities and businesses of all sizes.”
“Through konfer entrepreneurs, startups, and larger organisations can gain easy access to funding, resources, expertise and innovation opportunities, enabling our universities to find commercial project partners in a simple and straightforward way” said David Docherty, CEO, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB).

Funded by the Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, konfer was developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) to support collaborations between UK universities and businesses and was released in Alpha in May 2016 for testing.
For businesses, charities and individuals it opens the treasury of research, researchers and services in UK universities and research institutions. For academics, Konfer is a way to search for impact and funding partners, or just to share the sheer joy of knowledge.

For further information please contact:
Head of Communications – Shivaun Meehan 07989 5678826

                                                       Export visit to Vietnam – 25 November to 1 December

This week, as part of Global Wales’s plans to establish an ongoing and long-term strategic relationship with Vietnam, the Welsh Government will be taking a trade mission to Vietnam.
While the mission will include companies with an export interest in Vietnam, a complementary and overlapping education programme will involve representation from four universities, four FE colleges, Universities Wales, British Council, and HEFCW. The visit will take in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and the programme will cover visits to institutions, government departments, and funders, along with receptions and workshops.
Universities Wales is represented by our assistant director Lisa Newberry, and we will be tweeting updates and information about the visit throughout the week.

Political update: 

  •  Plaid Cymru has called for student visas to be devolved to Cardiff Bay. It follows the publication of a report earlier this week on the economic impact of international students in Wales.
  • Hefin David AM asked a question of the Cabinet Secretary during last week’s CYPE Committee – “How do you respond to the research done by Universities Wales that higher education has faced seven years of cuts?” Response can be found at 1:46 here
  • The Welsh Government has responded to a Freedom of Information request for a breakdown of “other expenditure” associated with the Seren Network. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretary for Education has issued a written statement sharing UCAS data following a recent Plenary question about what Welsh Government is doing to improve the number of student applying to Oxbridge.
  • The Welsh Government has published statistics on student support applications for higher education and Research & Development expenditure.
  • In the media: Wales faces a “mountain to climb” if access to European study opportunities is not secured post-Brexit, a founder of Erasmus has said