I hope this message finds you well and that you have had some time to make the most of the glorious weather we’ve recently been enjoying.
It was a real pleasure to be able, once again, to welcome prospective students and their families to campus last Friday and Saturday. We had around 16,000 visitors in total, and the information stalls, talks and tours were all kept very busy indeed. These events are always a team effort. I am deeply grateful for the work of everyone involved, including the events team, academic colleagues for the talks they give and the many questions they answer, colleagues in estates, hospitality and security, our many student ambassadors and, of course, all those members of staff who volunteered to help on the day. The next Open Day is taking place on Saturday 10 September and we still need a few more staff volunteers, so if you can help, please e-mail Lucy Perry.
Research Culture Week and Launch of Research with Impact
Many of us will be aware that there has been much talk about research in the past month. A key point of discussion was REF2021, which required that there should be a submission from every staff member involved in research. This was different from the previous REF2014 where the rules allowed universities to select a proportion of staff to be submitted to enhance quality ranking. The University was selective so that although it ranked highly for the research that was submitted, its intensity ranking, which took account of the proportion of staff submitted, was 34th. Warm congratulations should be extended to our current researchers, with the results from REF2021 showing clear strengthening of our research intensity. As recognised in our University Strategy, the results also indicated the need to grow our research power and impact, particularly at international level. I am therefore so grateful to Professor Sarah Hainsworth for launching two new initiatives this week to promote and support our research internally and externally.
First, it’s been wonderful to see so much engagement with our inaugural Research Culture Week. Throughout the week, we’ve seen debates, online events, a thank you event for our technicians, the launch of the Knowledge Exchange Community of Practice, a demonstration of the 'SafePod' in the Library and the return of Images of Research. I’d like to congratulate the winning and highly commended entries for Images of Research. It is wonderful to see the variety of research taking place here at Bath, and the creativity involved in presenting and explaining our work to a public audience. You can still see the posters in The Edge until the end of the day today, or view them online. My thanks to Katy McKen and all colleagues involved for making the week such a success.
Secondly, I am so very grateful for the outstanding work that Corinne Evans and her colleagues have engaged in to create a Research with Impact initiative this week; a wonderful approach to celebrate and promote the work of our research community.
You can now read the first in our new ‘long read’ stories about some of our research, including:
- Developing a sustainable alternative to palm oil
- Growing cultured meat for sustainable and ethical nutrition
- Creating a new way of storing and transporting vaccines without refrigeration
- Informing public health policies around the world to reduce smoking and save lives
- Security and the interaction between human behaviour and technology
- Creating a portable device that detects synthetic drugs like ‘spice’
If you haven’t already, I’d also encourage you to watch our innovative video, ‘What Matters Now?’ which takes a creative look at our research and the issues it’s tackling, as well as our short video series.
And finally, if you have any time for a podcast in the coming days, do listen to the first in our mini-series, hosted by Roland Pease and featuring our academic colleagues: “How do we get to net zero?”.
My sincere thanks to all those colleagues who have worked so hard, and with such creativity, on this initiative. If you want to help with this project in the future, do e-mail email@example.com.
New Sanctuary Scholarship scheme
Following our designation as a University of Sanctuary in 2020 in recognition of our support for refugee students, I’m really pleased that we’re now able to announce our new Sanctuary Scholarship scheme, that will waive tuition fees, enabling an undergraduate asylum seeker to study for free. It is particularly humbling to see the leadership from our staff and student community, for instance in the crowdfunding campaign that led to such strong support and means that the scholarship will also provide a £5,000 bursary towards study costs. Thank you to all involved.
There has been much news of recent sporting achievements recently, and I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to a number of students and Bath-based athletes:
- Current student and sports scholar, Orlando Bailey (International Development with Economics), made his debut senior England appearance last weekend for England against the Barbarians. Fellow students Ethan Staddon (Natural Sciences, Santander Scholar) and Tom Carr-Smith (Management) have been called up to the England U20 side for the Six Nations in Italy.
- Tom Dean, part of the British Swimming squad who train in the Sports Training Village, continued his medal success on the global stage with bronze in the 200m freestyle at the current World Championships in Budapest. Several Bath-based swimmers are in Budapest and many have already made the top eight with more competition scheduled over the weekend.
- Netballers Layla Guscoth and recent engineering graduate Sophie Drakeford-Lewis have been selected to play for England at the Commonwealth Games starting next month.
Finally, many congratulations to the winners and nominees in our inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Outreach awards. It was truly inspiring to hear about the breadth and depth of outreach activity across our University and a pleasure to meet so many involved at the event earlier this week.
With best wishes,
Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President