The University has had a successful year and on behalf of Council I would like to place on record our thanks to the whole university community for contributing so positively to this outcome, which has been delivered despite the continued challenges of COVID-19, the uncertainty around the Government response to the Augar Review and global conflicts that have affected our community, most recently the war in Ukraine.
Particular thanks must go to the leadership team, under the stewardship of our Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian White. It was a pleasure to welcome our new Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Phil Allmendinger, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sarah Hainsworth OBE and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Julian Chaudhuri, who all took up office during the year. Together with the existing executive members they have formed a formidable team.
We have been pleased to see the progress in taking forward our research objectives, building on our institutional themes and promoting interdisciplinarity and witnessing the early shoots of this being recognised in successful grant applications.
Our student experience continues to be an area of considerable strength and we were delighted to be named as University of the Year 2023 by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. The constructive dialogue between us and our Students' Union sabbatical officers is undoubtedly a significant factor in achieving this. Continued work on Curriculum Transformation and other initiatives will ensure our education offer remains relevant and future proofed.
Among the many other highlights, I am also pleased to report that we gained an institutional Silver Athena Swan Award, for work which forms a key part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Looking forward however, the outlook for the sector continues to be very challenging. We anticipate significant cost pressures with UK tuition fees remaining stagnant, international student uptake uncertain, hospitality services not yet returned to pre COVID-19 levels and all against a backdrop of rising inflation affecting our whole supply chain. We recognise too, the impact that these pressures have on the wellbeing of individual members of staff and students within our community as they adjust to changing circumstances.
Notwithstanding our recent significant capital investment in the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) and the new School of Management building, our infrastructure is not universally suitable for an ambitious institution such as Bath. As we move into a steadier state of hybrid working, this will present opportunities to consider how to optimise its usage, while at the same time taking into account our commitment to addressing the climate emergency.
Nevertheless, careful stewardship of our resources has left us financially better placed than many. So we remain optimistic that we will be able to continue to advance our strategic aims investing carefully while taking measured risks to advance the initiatives being developed through our academic strategic planning processes.
Bath continues to be a very successful institution as measured against both internal and external benchmarks. We are not complacent and know we can do more. I have every confidence that our leadership team will continue to drive this upward trajectory, enabling staff and students alike to excel in their chosen disciplines.
Pamela Chesters CBE
Chair of Council