Continued Commitment to Graduate Entrepreneurs
Focus on Spinouts
Centre for International & Commercial Activities
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Merthyr Tydfil College
Helen Marshall, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic and Business Development and UHOVI Director, looks at the Glamorgan Group’s strong engagement with the community and further afield. Glamorgan continues to engage with a range of partners, both nationally and internationally, to develop research, secure funding and deliver on the Welsh Assembly Government’s priorities for Higher Education.
On the 3rd of November Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute was officially launched by Education Minister Leighton Andrews. UHOVI is a key element of a £110m Welsh Assembly Government investment designed to improve prospects for people in the five counties of the Heads of the Valleys region of South Wales which have some of the country’s poorest academic records.
Higher Education is in a unique position to drive regeneration by bringing together the power of local people, local businesses, local government and the voluntary sector. UHOVI is unique in that it will deliver courses locally in a supportive and accessible environment. There is a large pool of talented and able people living and working within the Heads of the Valleys region and UHOVI will play an important role in helping them achieve their true potential by providing employer-focused, relevant, higher education courses in their local community.
An allocation of £10m will be made available to UHOVI over the next four years to support the recruitment of 4,000 FTE learners and see it become the single voice and planning vehicle for HE in the region. UHOVI will make full and part-time foundation degrees, work based learning and bite-sized modules that support the up-skilling of the workforce more accessible to local people.
The vision for UHOVI has received support and been embraced by Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education in the Welsh Assembly Government who has rightly seen that a key element of future economic development and increased prosperity for the area will lie in increasing skills and economic opportunity. The Minister has said that “UHOVI is a result of a unique partnership between the Universities of Newport and Glamorgan, working with Merthyr Tydfil, Gwent, Ystrad Mynach and Morgannwg further education colleges, private training providers and the local authorities.”
Underpinning UHOVI and one of the unique features of the programme is the focus on delivering transformational change and improvements in all age education. This includes school reorganisation whereby (subject to Assembly Government approval) all post 16 education in Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent will become tertiary and enjoy significant capital investments in ambitious builds in the form of Merthyr Learning Quarter and the Learning Zone in Blaenau Gwent.
This means that UHOVI is not just about widening access to HE. It very much access with a purpose. The six institutions involved in UHOVI have pooled their expertise to provide a seamless series of curriculum pathways from level 2 (GCSE) through to level 5 (Foundation Degree) that direct their attention to the economic priority areas identified by the Welsh Assembly Government (Creative Industries, Technology, Engineering and Science, Business Development, Health and Education and Community and Third Sector) and ensure that prospective students aged 16 upwards can access a relevant pathway at any point from level 2 to 5 to gain a full-award or a single module to provide timely up-skilling in line with the needs of employers.
Glamorgan continues to play a leading role in Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) programmes such as A4B (Academics for Business). Early Stage Development forms a core part of the project and activity includes working with more than thirty academics on reviewing the commercial and market viability of their ideas and identifying any intellectual property arising from research. This has resulted in international patents being filed for novel fuel cell technology and 40 links with external organisations drawn from sectors ranging from heritage to digital media.
Two Knowledge Transfer Centres have been established using A4B funding supported by WAG and the EU Structural funds. The Media Lab, based at CCI, is offering services to the gaming and media industries and the “Centre for Power Train Engineering”: which provides testing and R&D for electric vehicle manufacturers including one of the UK’s fastest growing companies in the Electric and Hybrid-vehicle sector, Zytek Automotive.
Collaborative Industrial Research has grown considerably this year with the conclusion of a £2.4M R&D project funded by private investors and the Carbon Trust to research novel lighting technology.
Collaborative Industrial Research has grown considerably this year with the conclusion of a £2.4M R&D project funded by private investors and the Carbon Trust to research novel lighting technology. This multidisciplinary project involving the faculties of Health, Sport and Science and Advanced Technology in developing next generation lighting exemplifies the competitive advantage that can be obtained by cross faculty collaboration and a flexible approach to working with business.
The Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services (CEMAS) is a unique £4.9m centre of excellence to help smaller businesses in the Convergence areas of Wales take advantage of emerging mobile technologies; a further example of the University’s innovative engagement with high tech industry. Led by Professor Khalid al Begain, the venture is backed with £2.4m from the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Centre will be a test bed for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to design, develop, test and protect the creation of new mobile phone services and applications. The Centre will extend its services to beneficiaries of all sectors including ICT, business, health, transport, and security services in the Convergence region to provide mobile technology solutions that improve productivity and efficiency
Glamorgan’s reputation for successfully delivering on funded programmes gathers pace with Higher Education Funding Council Wales providing an additional £352,000 of funding for the Strategic Insight Programme. We are the lead partner on this initiative linking Glamorgan, University of Wales Newport, UWIC and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with organisations across the private, public and non-for-profit sectors. In 2010, we were partnered by Merthyr Tydfil College and Coleg Morgannwg to win a Leadership and Management contract from WAG to deliver almost £1m of funded training to SMEs in SE Wales seeking to improve their management capabilities over the next five years.
2010 saw a strategic decision being taken to formally partner with Venture Wales to relocate Glamorgan’s Graduate Incubator facility (GTI) to their premises from November 2010. This was the culmination of a successful year for GTI; one of its companies Techsol UK Ltd won Best Start Up of the Year at the annual Rhondda Cynon Taf Business Club awards. This initiative supports Glamorgan’s continued commitment to the employability agenda which will form an increasingly important part of the University’s strategy over the next year.
2010 saw the University secure approximately £1m for Glamorgan spinout companies; generating high-value Intellectual Property based companies by working more closely with the A4B Early Stage Development Fund supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. Glamorgan spinout companies now operate in high priority areas of energy management and mobile security technology.
The Centre for International & Commercial Activities was established in 2010, bringing together International and Commercial operations. This streamlining of activity, where the majority of the University’s international activities are now co-ordinated, via a central International Office, enables focus and most importantly the strengthening of the support offered to international students through their entire lifecycle of engagement with Glamorgan. The close linking of the work of the International Office with that of the Commercial Services Office (CSO) is designed to maximise the potential growth of trans-national course delivery and economic development activity linking inward investors with indigenous, growth companies.
2010 saw our largest ever number of students joining us from around the globe; students joined us in Wales from 57 countries beyond the EU. The September intake of international students grew by 15% relative to the previous year. We also continued to deliver our courses in Bahrain, Hong Kong and Singapore, activity which is managed by CSO. In order to facilitate growth, international visitors from academic institutions are increasingly being drawn to visit Glamorgan either because of our areas of distinctive research or because of the increasingly good feedback from the international student experience.
A guiding mantra at the College is 'replicating the conditions of industry’. What better way to do this then forming effective working relationships with some of the country’s leading companies.
For example, our new MA Opera Performance has been developed with the cooperation of Welsh National Opera, to help give our students access to one of Europe’s finest opera companies as part of their studies. We also work closely with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, who run a placement scheme for instrumentalists and more recently, opportunities for joint performances.
Our partnership with Steinway & Sons not only helped overhaul our fleet of pianos but also led to the establishing of the Steinway International Piano Scholarship. This year’s recipient, Chinese pianist Tianhong Yang performed a stunning rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with our Symphony Orchestra at St David’s Hall.
In 2011, we also look forward to hosting the national exhibition of the Society of British Theatre Designers. The very best of theatre design from across theatre, musicals, opera, ballet and dance will fill the College in the Spring. It will also give a taste of what to expect when the College hosts the World Stage Design Exhibition in 2013.
The College also retains strong links beyond its Higher Education remit. Our Junior Music programme and Young Actors Studio bring life to the College at weekends, providing opportunities for musicians from the age of 4 and actors between the ages of 15 and 19 to benefit from our conservatoire and drama school experience.
Merthyr Tydfil College is committed to being a true community college integral to the fabric of Merthyr Tydfil, being innovative and responsive to the needs of individuals, community groups and business. The College aims to be at the heart of community life, not only in relation to education but also playing a role in leisure, entertainment, the arts and healthy living. One success we were particularly proud of this year was the an award won by The Honey Bunnies nursery for the promotion of healthy eating to children and families. The creche offers places to the children of students and staff but also some community places.
A revealing film made by Merthyr Tydfil media studies student Gemma Griffiths about growing up on the Gurnos estate is being used by the Department of Work and Pensions to mark the European Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The film portrays what it is like to be brought up with very little money to spend and very few prospects to aspire to even if, like her, you want a career and an escape from poverty.
Top fashion designer and former Merthyr student Julien Macdonald gave an inspirational talk to Merthyr’s business community as part of Merthyr’s Enterprise week in November 2010. As part of the evening the audience were treated to an ingenious fashion show by students from the Art and Design 3D Studies class. Recyclable materials including wrapping paper, videotape, newspaper, broken mirrors, and bubble wrap were utilised to create dresses fit for the red carpet.