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Sheffield hosts Universities UK's 100th anniversary conference

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Sheffield has welcomed more than 100 university leaders and other key figures, including Universities Minister Sam Gyimah MP, as it hosted the Universities UK Annual Members Conference.

As the advocacy organisation for UK universities celebrates its 100th anniversary, Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield was chosen to be the host of UUK's landmark meeting this week, bringing together Vice-Chancellors from across the UK to discuss the future of higher education on both a national and global scale.

Sam Gyimah MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation delivered a keynote speech in which he underlined the value of university education and held up Sheffield as an example of how higher education can play a key role in boosting the regional economy.

There were also key speeches from figures including, Sir Michael Barber, Chair of the Office for Students,Sir John Kingman from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Philip Augur who is leading the Government's major review of post-18 education.

Held at Sheffield Hallam's Hertha Ayrton STEM Centre, the conference saw the University support UUK's call for a new visa to allow qualified international students to work in skilled jobs for a period after graduation. The visa would allow a wider range of employers to benefit from access to skilled graduates from around the world, making Sheffield a more attractive destination for international students, while supporting the local economy and businesses.

The conference also reflected on the continuing work of the Civic University Commission, chaired by Sheffield Hallam’s Board of Governors chair, Lord Bob Kerslake, which is looking at the civic and public role of universities.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “It was an excellent annual conference at Sheffield Hallam University. We were pleased to welcome a range of prominent and thought-provoking speakers from around the world to address university leaders.

"The university’s new STEM Centre proved a wonderful venue and its staff, supported by a team of student ambassadors, were superb. It is a prime example of a university innovating and providing a regional centre of excellence.”

More than 100 vice-chancellors from universities across the country came to Hallam for UUK

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Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, said: "I’m proud that we have been able to hold this Universities UK conference, a hundred years after the first formal meeting.

"It’s been an opportunity for us to showcase some of what we do: the investment in science and technology which the Hertha Ayrton centre represents, the importance of the University to the city and the region, and the engagement of the University with all the big current questions in the sector.

"The higher education sector is bigger and more diverse than it was a hundred years ago. Universities are more complex organisations. They are more important to more people than they were in 1918. I am delighted that in 2018, Sheffield Hallam University provides the forum for the beginning of the next hundred years of the development of higher education."

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "We were particularly delighted that the Minister has welcomed the important proposal from Universities UK on post-study work, a crucial issue for students across the UK and for the universities and cities in which they study. Our global research, staff and students underpin the ability of UK universities to play the active civic role the Minister also described, so we are pleased to see this being publicly reflected by government at this milestone conference."

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email