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Report of the Vice-Chancellor to Senate November 2017

The report given by Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell to the Senate on Wednesday 22 November 2017.


1. League Tables

1.1 Table of Tables

We have been ranked 10th in this year’s Times Higher Education ‘Table of Tables’, a rise of two places. The ‘Table of Tables’ offers a snapshot of how universities are viewed by national newspapers and is calculated by giving the 30 top-ranked institutions points that relate to their rankings in league tables compiled by The Good University Guide, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide.

1.2 Which? survey

The University has been ranked second for ‘Sports Scene’ according to the latest survey by consumer group ‘Which?’ of over 8000 students at 127 UK universities and colleagues. The survey was conducted by YouthSight on behalf of Which? and rates institutions in five extracurricular categories.

2. The Office for Students regulatory framework consultation

The Office for Students has published a number of consultative documents detailing how it proposes to implement its responsibilities following the passage of Higher Education and Research Act 2017. A number of regulatory changes are proposed, including issues around student contracts, student transfers and student information. The President of Universities UK has said:

‘A key challenge for the OfS now is to integrate students and the NUS into its decision making, so it is truly the Office for Students. The Office for Students should ensure that competition works in the interests of students. This includes ensuring that new higher education providers are high quality and deliver good outcomes for students. It is important that the OfS works with universities to add value for students, rather than just adding to the regulatory burden for all. We look forward to working with the Office for Students to promote the importance of free speech. There is already a legal duty on the sector to secure free speech within the law and universities take these responsibilities very seriously. It is absolutely crucial that universities remain places where controversial subjects are discussed and ideas challenged.’

Interested parties have until 22 December 2017 to respond to the consultation.

3. Education Select Committee inquiry into value for money

The Education Committee launched an inquiry on 15 September into value for money in higher education. The inquiry will examine the use of graduate outcomes data, social justice and progression of disadvantaged students in higher education, and the quality of teaching across institutions. Written submissions were invited by 23 October.

4. UK Quality Code for Higher Education

The UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment has invited responses to its consultation on the review of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. The consultation seeks to ensure that the Code remains the cornerstone for quality in UK higher education, that it protects the public and student interest, and that it maintains the UK’s world-leading reputation for quality in higher education. The proposed changes are to:

  • present an approach that allows the Code to be agile and responsive
  • align the Code with ongoing regulatory change and a diversifying UK HE landscape
  • place students at the heart of the Code
  • reflect sector views about how the Code can best serve a rapidly changing sector

5. GW4 Great West Research and Innovation Day

Senior management, prominent researchers and doctoral students from the four GW4 universities (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter), came together on 1 November to discuss the new GW4 Vision and showcase innovative projects at the Great West Research and Innovation Day. The event, organised by the GW4 Alliance, took place at the Assembly Rooms, Bath, and included keynote speeches from David Sweeney, Executive Chief Designate of Research England, and Dr Ruth McKernan CBE, Chief Executive of Innovate UK.

6. International Engagements

Since the last meeting:

6.1 I led a University delegation to China in October which included Professor Jonathan Knight, Professor Veronica Hope Hailey and Professor Nick Brook. Zhejiang University, one of our strategic partners, invited me to deliver a keynote address at the opening ceremony of their new International Campus in Haining. Professor Catherine Montgomery, Department of Education, delivered a parallel presentation. Whilst in Beijing, I hosted an alumni reception and signed an agreement with the China Scholarship Council: a joint scholarship programme with the aim of developing research collaborations with prestigious Chinese universities or research institutions, and attracting high-calibre postgraduate research students from China. Selected Chinese students will receive a full stipend and fee waiver to undertake full-time PhD studies at University of Bath for a period of up to 48 months. The visit also enabled Professor Nick Brook to meet with Zhejiang colleagues to finalise an agreement for PGT admission in Computer Science and for Professor Veronica Hope Hailey to host alumni and corporate partner events in Shanghai.

6.2 I welcomed His Excellency Pasquale Terracciano, Italian Ambassador to the UK, to the University in October. The Ambassador was visiting the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies as part of the 17th Italian Language in the World Week. The Ambassador was joined by Dr Federico Bianchi, Head of Press and Cultural Affairs at the Italian Embassy. Since 2004, the university has had the post of ‘Italian Lector’ fully funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs the purpose of which is to promote the study of Italian language and culture abroad. As part of the visit, the Ambassador met with staff and students and gave a guest lecture entitled ‘Anglo-Italian Relations from the Roman Age to Brexit’.

6.3 Professor Peter Lambert and Professor Paul Milewski visited Paraguay in November to publicise the recently approved agreement with Paraguay’s Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship Programme Don Carlos Antonio López (BECAL). The agreement gives the University of Bath a preferred status for Paraguayan applicants wishing to pursue funded postgraduate taught and research degrees overseas. Successful students will receive a tuition fee discount by Bath; the remaining fees and other funding will be covered by BECAL. Students will be required to return to Paraguay for a minimum of five years upon graduation. This is the first agreement in the UK that offers scholarships in all areas of study.

6.4 Professor Jonathan Knight welcomed visitors from the Beijing Foreign Affairs Office to the University in November. The visitors are participating in an intensive three week Interpreting and Translation programme led by colleagues in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies. It is the first time such a programme has taken place.

7. Other University news

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

7.1 On 1 November HRH The Countess of Wessex visited the University’s Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) to see first-hand how a range of innovative projects are making a difference to people living with autism and those around them. As part of the day the Countess officially launched a new programme 'the Bath Employment Spring School for Autism', run in conjunction with JP Morgan Chase. This builds on a successful programme in the US and from early 2018 will see a first cohort of autistic students and recent graduates receive training in job hunting and interview skills, as well as on-thejob experience.

7.2 Council approved the appointment of Professor Jeremy Bradshaw as Pro-ViceChancellor (International & Doctoral) from 1 February 2018 for five years.

7.3 Professor Catherine Montgomery has been appointed Academic Director of International Partnerships from January 2018.

7.4 Recent grant awards include:

Description Funder Principle Investigator Dept £ Amount
Community Rugby Injury Surveillance Project 2017-2021: Community, Schools & Universities Rugby Football Union Professor Keith Stokes Health 630,000
VSIMULATORS: Building Occupant Interaction Simulator EPSRC Dr Antony Darby Architecture & Civil Engineering 1,594,880
Biodegradable Microbeads and Microspheres EPSRC Professor Davide Mattia Chemical Engineering 362,830
UR Fellowship - Sugar-based Polymers for a New Generation of Sustainable Materials The Royal Society Dr Antoine Buchard Chemistry 490,971
Biodegradable Microbeads and Microspheres EPSRC Dr Janet Scott Chemistry 709,739
Detecting Bladder Volume and pressure from Sacral Nerve Signals: the Key to Future Artificial Control EPSRC Professor John Taylor Electronic & Electrical Engineering 316,873
Graphene Nanosensors for Scanning Hall Microscopy and Susceptometry EPSRC Professor Simon Bending Physics 390,494
Cyber Security Across the LifeSpan (cSalsa) EPSRC Professor Adam Joinson School of Management 532,398
Blood lipid response to dietary fat Lucozade Ribena Suntory Limited Dr James Betts Health 254,059
REDAWN Project Partnership INTERREG - Reducing Energy Dependency in Atlantic Area Water Networks EU – Horizon 2020 Dr Kemi Adeyeye Architecture & Civil Engineering 272,943
Healthy Housing for Refugees in Extreme Climates EPSRC Professor David Coley Architecture & Civil Engineering 1,218,146
Fellowship - Photocatalytic Anodic Membranes for Micropollutant Removal EPSRC Professor Davide Mattia Chemical Engineering 1,282,485
TOMOCON EU - Horizon 2020 Professor Manuchehr Soleimani Electronic & Electrical Engineering 404,871
DRAGON-WEX: The Drake Passage and Southern Ocean Wave Experiment NERC Professor Nicholas Mitchell Electronic & Electrical Engineering 394,189
MAESTRO EU – Horizon 2020 Professor Alison Walker Physics 433,532
Healthy Housing for Refugees in Extreme Climates EPSRC Dr Jason Hart Social & Policy Sciences 277,471

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell
President & Vice-Chancellor
November 2017


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