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We host the University Alliance Summit 2017

Jun 08, 2017

Vice Chancellor's opening address at the University Alliance Summit
Professor Helen Marshall opens the University Alliance Summit

Over the past couple of days we’ve welcomed universities from around the UK to the New Adelphi and our MediaCityUK campus for the University Alliance Summit 2017. The summit, attended by University Alliance members, provides an opportunity for universities to come together to think strategically about the factors which will affect higher education over the coming year and discuss how we can collaborate together.

The conference got off to a great start at the New Adelphi on Tuesday (6th June). Around 20 Vice-Chancellors had the opportunity to look around our state-of-the-art facilities before listening to an address from Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students. That evening the University Alliance Summit Dinner was held at The Lowry. Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Marshall welcomed Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to open the proceedings. Andy spoke of his great relationship with universities across the North West and in particular how he is looking forward to working with the University of Salford in the future, particularly within the remit of healthcare. He also discussed the critical role universities play in supporting devolved networks. Attendees then enjoyed a dinner which was followed by an address from former UK ambassador to the European Union Sir Stephen Wall.

 

Our MediaCityUK campus opened its doors to guests the next day and proceedings got underway with a welcome plenary from Professor Helen Marshall. Helen greeted attendees and shared an overview of our ICZ strategy before presenting a video featuring students speaking about their life at Salford.

This was then followed by topical discussion chaired University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell with Chief Executive of Centre for Cities Andrew Carter, NUS Vice-President Higher Education (Elect) Amatey Doku, Wonkhe Editor Mark Leach, Head of New Talent at BBC Academy Claire Paul and Professor or Research Policy & Chair of the Campaign for Social Science James Wilson. When discussing degree-level apprenticeships Claire from the BBC praised the University, saying: “Salford really was the fastest out the track when we were looking to create degree apprentices and the curriculum design has worked really well.”  When the topic turned to next week’s TEF results Wonkhe’s Mark said he was “cautiously optimistic” – a feeling shared by many in the room.

Andrew Smith, Chief Economic Adviser at Industry Forum, then took to the podium to discuss all things Brexit, providing useful financial insight and forecasts along the way.  The rest of the day involved breakout sessions before a closing plenary and final remarks from Coventry University’s Vice-Chancellor John Latham who chairs the University Alliance.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Marshall said: “It has been a proud day welcoming University Alliance leaders to MediaCityUK and the New Adelphi, giving us the opportunity to showcase our world-class digital and creative industries facilities. 

All the Vice-Chancellors and other delegates I spoke to really got a sense of what an exciting time this is for the University of Salford. They came to Salford because people across the sector are noticing that the implementation of our strategy is delivering a strong appeal to students, industry and government alike, creating many opportunities to diversify and build our offer. Our Industry Collaboration Zones (ICZs) are trailblazing a new approach to curriculum development and delivery in partnership with industry, placing the University at the heart of the skills and research challenges of the Industrial Strategy and the Northern Powerhouse. 

Salford is also leading the way in collaborations between Alliance universities. This year’s summit provided the opportunity to share some of the success we have had, especially in our partnerships with Coventry and South Wales - there were lots of really exciting conversations and much work to now do. In the ever–changing and more challenging climate we operate in, being able to share critical mass and expertise in exploiting mutually beneficial opportunities, whilst sharing the risk, will be fundamental to our future success as Alliance universities."

Just last month we also hosted an innovation competition at our MediaCityUK campus for students and alumni of Alliance universities. Budding entrepreneurs had five minutes to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes from a prize pool of £5,000.

University Alliance 2017