1. League tables

The University has been ranked 11th in the Times Higher Education ‘Table of Tables’ 2019 published on 25 October. It was 10th last year.

2. Value for money in higher education inquiry

The government’s Value for Money report was published on 5 November. The terms of reference were to consider the following issues:

  • Graduate outcomes and the use of destination data
  • Social justice in higher education and support for disadvantaged students
  • Senior management pay in universities
  • Quality and effectiveness of teaching
  • The role of the Office for Students

See the full report on Parliament's website

3. Away-days

3.1 Council had their annual Strategy Away-day on 25 October, attended by Prof Ian White, the incoming Vice-Chancellor. Topics discussed were:

  • Progress against the University Strategy
  • Governance, particularly the size and composition of Council
  • Outreach and widening participation
  • Mental Health

3.2 I held a Management Away-day for senior staff on 16 October.

4. International Engagements

4.1 Professor Jeremy Bradshaw and Professor Catherine Montgomery visited Monash University in October. The visit was planned in order to sign the University’s first joint PhD agreement, initiated through the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT). As well as signing the agreement, the visit enabled exploratory discussions about areas for further collaboration in research and student exchange.

4.2 Professor Jeremy Bradshaw was pleased to host Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director of Maties Sport and Dr Gustav Venter, Research Coordinator, Centre for Human Performance Sciences from Stellenbosch University to campus for three days in November. The visitors met with a variety of colleagues from the Department of Sports Development and Recreation, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Development and Alumni Relations and the Students' Union. Discussions focused around the sharing of good practice and opportunities for collaboration.

4.3 I welcomed H.E. Mrs Gulnara Iskakova and Turdakun Sydykov, Minister-Counsellor from the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the University in October. Dr Asel Sartbaeva, Department of Chemistry has active links with the Kyrgyz Republic and facilitated the visit and subsequent film screening which formed part of the University's One World Week events. One World Week was developed as part of this year's extended student induction and included a programme of events for all students and staff designed to celebrate our international University.

5. Other University news

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

5.1 The recent round of prize fellowship awards has concluded.

5.2 Prof Toby Jenkins’ Smartwound innovation won an award on 15 October at ‘Chemistry Means Business’, a showcase of success and innovation in the sector across the UK and Europe.

5.3 Skills Centre Course Leaders, Diana Hopkins and Tom Reid, have published a new Academic Skills Handbook designed to support students' skills development.

5.4 Ms Alex Butler has been appointed as the University’s first Chief Information and Digital Officer.

5.5 Recent significant grant awards include:

Description Funder Principal Investigator Department Amount in £
Philip Proudfoot BA PostDoc Fellowship The British Academy Dr Jason Hart Department of Social & Policy Sciences 303,172
OC37R17P EU – Horizon 2020 Professor James Bilzon Department for Health 623,356
OC37R17P EU – Horizon 2020 Professor Chris Brace Department of Mechanical Engineering 627,843
Zero Peak Building Energy Design for India EPSRC Dr Sukumar Natarajan Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering 865,317
Smartwound-plasma EPSRC Professor Toby Jenkins Department of Chemistry 303,606
Reimagining Recruitment EPSRC Dr Tim Rogers Department of Mathematical Sciences 345,903
Knots in Nature: DNA, The Knotted Molecule of Life The Leverhulme Trust Professor Dorothy Buck Department of Mathematical Sciences 495,980

Professor Bernie Morley, Acting Vice-Chancellor