The University of Southampton
UEB Blog

UEB Blog 30.04.24

Author: Shaun Williams, Executive Director Engagement and Advancement

Image of Highfield campus with text "UEB BLOG 30.04.24"

  • The Vice-Chancellor briefed UEB on a meeting he and a number of other Vice-Chancellors and leaders of research funders attended last week, convened by the Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden. At the meeting Ken McCallum, the Director-General of MI5, updated attendees on an assessment carried out by MI5 of the current threat posed by hostile states around academic espionage, and that those countries were deploying both overt and covert mechanisms to acquire intellectual property and steal advantage. The Vice-Chancellor reported that the meeting was very constructive, that the Government recognises the significant steps taken by the sector already, but with the threat clearly growing, the sector will need to respond further. A consultation will start in early summer on the additional support the Government could provide and the additional measures which may need putting in place.
  • UEB were disappointed to hear of a significant reduction in the funding of the Office for Students Uni Connect programme, which brings together universities, colleges and other local partners to help reduce the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups. We await further details of proposals for a replacement scheme.
  • UEB were very pleased to hear there have been a record 606 nominations for this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards, celebrating the extraordinary work and excellence of colleagues right across the University. It was an excellent response, and means a particularly difficult short-listing process this year, ahead of the annual award ceremony and results in the autumn.
  • Continuing on the theme of celebration, UEB were delighted to hear that Southampton students won the annual Varsity against the University of Portsmouth, in a very good-natured series of multi-sport matches over a number of days, celebrating the inclusivity of both universities’ sports clubs, and sports in all forms.
  • The Vice-Chancellor updated UEB on a recent Russell Group Board strategy session, in which high-level political, economic, technological and geo-political issues had been discussed, as they were at our own recent University Council Awayday. That was followed by our regular quarterly review of our Strategic Major Projects portfolio, along with updates on the Estates and IT strategic programmes, and a faculty update from FEPS. As the Vice-Chancellor has outlined at more than 30 recent Strategy Town Halls, there is tremendous ambition, activity and momentum as we deliver in earnest on the University Strategy and the underpinning Strategic Plans, with an acceptance that further prioritisation may be required ahead to ensure carefully managed delivery.
  • Finally, there was the regular review of the University Risk Register, which has seen no substantive change since its last review. 
Share this post Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo