Preview of VC's report to Senate on 5 Apr

1. Higher Education and Research Bill

The Higher Education and Research Bill reached the Report stage in the House of Lords on 15 March 2017. For details see:

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, announced on 7 February that Sir Michael Barber will be the Government’s preferred candidate to be the first chair of the new regulator for higher education, the Office for Students.

2. League Tables

Six of our subjects are in the world’s top 100, according to the QS World University Rankings published on 8 March. For the third year running, our disciplines in the top 100 include: Architecture and the Built Environment, Pharmacy & Pharmacology; Social Policy; Business & Management Studies; Development Studies; and Sports-related subjects. Development Studies was included in the list of the top 50 for the third year running (placed 45th) and this year, the first time that it has been included in the rankings, our Sports-related subjects were ranked 22nd.

3. Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021)

The joint consultation by the four UK funding bodies for higher education on the arrangements for research assessment in a second Research Excellence Framework – REF 2021 – closed on 17 March 2017. The proposal was for an overall approach based on REF 2014, incorporating the principles of Lord Stern’s Independent Review, and subject to changes that may be made in responses to the consultation.

4. Degree Apprenticeships

In anticipation of launching degree apprenticeships in 2017/18, the University applied to be included on the Skills Funding Agency's Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) in November 2016 and applied to be included on the Course Directory Provider Portal in January 2017. In March we were notified of our inclusion in the RoATP.  The School of Management is working with EY (Ernst and Young) to explore opportunities to deliver Level 6 and Level 7 provision and is looking at the broader applications of degree apprenticeships in the context of executive development provision. The Department of Computer Science is working with J P Morgan on a Level 7 IT apprenticeship

5. Athena SWAN submission

The University Self-Assessment Team has been meeting since May 2016 towards the creation of our draft Athena SWAN action plan and supporting documentation. The draft University-wide submission was made available for consultation on the University website for comments by 20 March. The deadline for the submission is the end of April.

6. International Engagements

6.1      In January, I presented at the ‘Transdisciplinary Colloquium, The Threats’ event in Paris, organised by the World Network Serge Moscovici; participating institutions included the Paris Descartes University, the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and the University of Lisbon.

6.2      I joined the School of Management in welcoming a delegation of Deans from the University of Mumbai to our offices in Pall Mall. The event including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with ISME, India. This will lead to increased collaborations in both India and the UK.

6.3      The University also hosted two workshops involving our Strategic Partners: a three day workshop with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the University of Pennsylvania; and a two day workshop with Yonsei University, South Korea which focused on developing new links between research groups.

7. Building Developments

7.1      I visited the newly-opened Virgil Building on 20 February to see the new student facilities in operation. The new City Centre hub offers a range of independent and group study areas, plus an IT suite and Cafe. It attracted around 1,700 visits in the first week.

7.2      Our new base in London at Pall Mall is a resource for our academic community. The building offers a choice of bookable facilities for staff from a conference room seating 60 to individual work booths.

8. Other University news

I particularly wish to draw the attention of Senate to the following appointments and developments since our previous meeting:

8.1      Three Professors have been elected to Senate to serve for a term of three years from 1 August 2017: Professor Simon Bending, Professor Danae Stanton Fraser and Professor Cathryn Mitchell.

8.2      Recruitment to the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Doctoral & International) is ongoing.

8.3      At the Bath Life Awards on 23 February, the University was given a ‘Special Achievement Award’ for our contribution to Bath and the local community.

8.4     Recent significant grant awards include:

Description

Funder Principal Investigator(s) £

Amount

SPEED V- Super-high Power-dense Engines for Electric-hybrid Vehicles - Modular Downsized Internal Combustion Engines with Low CO2 Per Unit Power Output for Hybrid Powertrain Technology Strategy Board Sam Akehurst 2,230,404
Priority Axis 3:  Enhancing the Competitiveness of SMEs European Regional Development Fund Professor Dimo Dimov 519,800
Research Leadership Award - The Cretaceous-Paleogne Mass Extinction- Weverity, Recovery and Biogeography The Leverhulme Trust Dr Nick Longrich 998,185
Marie Curie ITN - SAINT - Science and Innovation with Thunderstorms EU – Horizon 2020 Dr Martin Fullekrug 386,776

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell

Vice-Chancellor

March 2017

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