Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 5th February 2018

New Report demonstrates the significant and far-reaching impact of Welsh Universities

econ impact info graphic

Last week Universities Wales published an independent study, which shows that Welsh universities generated over £5bn knock-on impact, and created almost 50,000 jobs in Wales, playing a vital role in powering the Welsh economy and generating growth, supporting communities and individuals across the nation. The Economic Impact of Higher Education in Wales 2018, can be accessed on the UnisWales website here.

The report found that economic impact of higher education flowed across Wales, with 11,024 jobs and £561m of GVA created in areas which do not have a university presence. It demonstrated how universities in Wales play a crucial role in powering the Welsh economy and generating growth, which supports communities and individuals across the nation.


Cross Party Group on Universities meets

CPGThe Cross Party Group on universities met for the first time with the new chair Hefin David on Thursday for a meeting on the topic “The role of universities in growing the Welsh economy” where a report entitled “The Economic Impact of Higher Education in Wales, 2018” was also launched.

Assembly members, vice chancellors, and sector representatives were given an informative presentation by Viewforth Consulting – the authors of the new report. There followed lively discussion on role of Universities in Wales and their contribution to economic/social well-being. Discussions focused around:

  • How do the activities of universities benefit not just their immediate communities, but constituencies across Wales
  • What does that mean for communities who may not have a university in their presence?

The group discussed the findings of the report, which illustrated the significant and wide-reaching impact of university expenditure on the entire Welsh economy (including that of university staff and students). The findings of the report also demonstrates the important role that universities and higher education will have to play in Wale’s post-Brexit future, by:

  • providing learning opportunities for new talent and helping to upskill the existing workforce
  • supporting the productivity of businesses and helping the economy to grow
  • translating world-leading research and innovation into new products, ideas, processes and services, and working with businesses to drive economic growth
  • supporting their local community, through providing facilities and capital investment projects
  • generating and providing jobs as employers in their own right.


Unis Wales annual reception celebrates contribution of Welsh Universities

receptionAround 100 guests came together on 31st January to celebrate the contribution of Welsh universities to the economy and Welsh society. The Universities Wales annual reception bought together sector and non-sector representatives, Assembly Members and other stakeholders for an evening to recognise and acknowledge the work of Welsh universities, and for the launch of a new report  into the economic impact of Welsh universities.

Universities Wales chair Professor Julie Lydon welcomed guests to the evening, noting that the extensive changes to the higher education sector in Wales provided a timely backdrop for a reflection on the essential role that universities have to play in contributing to the government agenda, and indeed the central role they play in our society more broadly.

Also speaking at the evening’s event, Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams, AM said she was delighted that the report “shows the extent of the employment and economic opportunities universities deliver in every corner of Wales.”

Universities Wales Event 15Whilst celebrating the sector’s economic contribution, the Cabinet Secretary also highlighted universities’ academic, research and cultural impact, and the role universities play in “driving the nation’s prosperity – in economic and cultural terms – equally.”  Kirsty concluded the evening looking forward to the opportunities for partnership which will underpin an exciting year for the sector, saying:

“We will implement the most progressive and radical student support system in the UK, delivering for all our students and institutions.  We will continue to move forward with our reforms to the post-16 sector, ensuring a system that is fit for purpose and delivers for all students at all stages of their careers and lives. We will have a sector that leads the way on fair work and fair wages, whilst continuing to deliver on research excellence, international links and the best student possible student experience.

And we will do all that in partnership, working together to ensure that higher education continues to be one of our greatest national assets.”


Learned Society of Wales Medals

Medals squaresThe call for nominations for the LSW’s medals are now open.

The three Dillwyn Medals recognise the contribution of early career researchers working in the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEMM with a connection to Wales.

The Frances Hoggan Medal recognises the contribution of outstanding female researchers in STEMM, with a connection to Wales

The Hugh Owen Medal recognises significant achievement in educational research, including innovations and education policy in Wales

The Menelaus Medal is awarded for excellence in any field of engineering and technology to a researcher or industrial practitioner with a connection to Wales

For further details see:

Deadline: 1 March 2018


UK Government announces £20 million Institute of Coding

The next generation of digital specialists will be created through the new Institute of Coding – a consortium of more than 60 universities, businesses and industry experts, set to receive £20 million to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap. The Institute of Coding was won by the Bath University led consortium bid, which includes Cardiff and Swansea universities.

The award follows a nationwide competition, run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to improve the way universities train people for digital careers. The government’s £20 million investment will be matched by a further £20 million from industry, including in-kind contributions such as training and equipment.


The conversation Showcase: Articles published by academics at Welsh universities this week

Is the time ripe for Wales to move to compulsory voting? (Cardiff)

Does having children make us care more about the environment? (Cardiff – new research)

How open data can help the world better manage coral reefs (Bangor)

Miloš Zeman’s victory in Czech presidential election is another setback for Western liberalism(Aber)

Focus on ‘fearhand’ and a strong work ethic can propel Kyle Edmund into the tennis elite (Cardiff Met)


The Political Update 

  • Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced £1.4m of EU funding for a research project with Swansea University aimed at growing Welsh businesses in the aquaculture sector.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services has written to all Assembly Members clarifying issues raised in connection with funding of junior doctor places in Wales.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education has written to the Children, Young People and Education Committee with further information about the Welsh Baccalaureate and her engagement with universities about connecting the qualification.
  • Meanwhile, the committee has published responses to their consultation on Targeted Funding to Improve Educational Outcomes.
  • The Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, has announced the appointment of Liz Harris and Emma Richards as members of the Careers Wales board. Meanwhile, the Minister also visited a project at Bangor University which is helping Welsh speakers who are at risk of losing their voice continue to communicate in their native language.