Sheffield staff hit record high

The University of Sheffield has revealed it has passed a major milestone with staff numbers crossing the 7,000 mark

The growth signals sustained investment in the University’s future as it enhances its reputation as a world-class centre for teaching, research and enterprise.

At the end of February 2014, there were 7,009 members of staff across the University – an increase of over a quarter (26%) from 5,553 in 2009/10.

The number of new starters also increased by a third (35%) year on year, to 1,433 in 2013/14.

New figures also show:

  • New academic appointments leapt from 54 in 2010 to 144 in 2012/13 – with staff joining the University from world-renowned institutions, including Harvard University and Princeton University in the USA.
  • The number of posts approved at the University has risen steadily each year, from 950 in 2009/10 to 1,750 in 2013/14 – an increase of 84%.
  • Staff turnover – a key measure of job satisfaction – fell from 19% in 2009/10 to 13% in 2012/13.
  • The University’s global reputation continues to grow, with an increase in the number of international academic staff. The figure now stands at 317, compared with 232 in 2009/10 – an increase of 36%.

“By creating jobs and investing in our people, we’re demonstrating our commitment to the highest global standards of teaching and research,” said Andrew Dodman, Director of Human Resources at the University.

“And our commitment to creating a remarkable place to work – as well as study and learn – comes despite the challenging times and unprecedented change in the UK higher education sector.”

Last year, the University launched its Talent First People Strategy, which aims to create a remarkable place to work through attracting, growing and engaging a diverse range of staff and internationally-renowned academics from across the globe that share its ambition to transform people’s lives and take a world-leading role in research and teaching.

It also seeks to maximise the potential of both new and existing staff by giving them the chance to realise their dreams and develop their talents through a range of professional development opportunities.

It follows on from the Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowships scheme, which saw 15 exceptional researchers from across the world appointed as part of the University’s commitment to develop the highest calibre of academic talent.

One of those appointed is Dr Philip Elks, of the Department of Infection and Immunity, who is using zebrafish infection models to dissect the signalling pathways involved in the host immune response to infection. The ground-breaking research aims to identify host-derived targets for therapeutic intervention against currently untreatable infectious diseases like multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis.

Another is Dr Genevieve LeBaron, of the Department for Politics, who is researching what causes the most exploitative forms of labour to accelerate supply chains.

Mr Dodman added: ‘The talent and commitment of our own people is the bedrock of our global reputation as a centre of excellence.

“Nothing is more important to us than continuing to attract the most talented, ambitious and creative people from all over the world to work with us and support our commitment to excellence.

“It’s not just about attracting talented individuals though. Through a range of high quality professional development, career opportunities and a brilliant working environment, as well as by offering exceptional benefits and a real focus on the wellbeing of our staff, we want to ensure we continue to provide an environment where those talented individuals want to stay and grow.

 “It’s gratifying therefore that our staff tell us overwhelmingly that they are proud to work at the University of Sheffield.’

As well as boosting staff numbers, the University is also making significant investment into capital projects which will create new jobs and secure future growth.

Last month, the University announced it had signed a ground breaking deal to secure 50 acres of land at Sheffield Business Park – a move which will support the progress of plans to create a critical mass of hi-tech, advanced manufacturing businesses.

The first development will be Factory 2050, a stunning circular building which will combine a range of technologies, including advanced robotics, off-line printing from flexible automated systems and 3D printing.

An independent survey of the economic benefits has shown that, during construction, the building will directly contribute £6.4 million to the local economy and create 162 jobs – and once operational, it will directly contribute £2 million annually and employ 75 people.

The planned developments will build on the success of the University’s investment in the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Catcliffe.

Increasing demand at the site means it has now expanded to operate on two shift patterns.

Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: “We are seeing a definite upturn in high value manufacturing in the region.

“This is reflected in our need to run a second shift to meet the industrial demand for our machining research and development and the production of demonstration parts using the novel techniques developed.

“Factory 2050 will put us in an even stronger position in terms of translating the research carried out by the University of Sheffield into practical applications which offer high tech solutions across the manufacturing sector.”

The University’s Faculty of Engineering is also expanding, with its investment in an £81 million state-of-the-art new building to provide an exceptional facility for engineering students of the future.

The Faculty is expecting to welcome 1,600 additional engineering students by 2020, with around 400 extra staff.

Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the University’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “Over the last five years there has been enormous growth in demand from those wanting to study with us, work with us and research with us. That demand has given us considerable ambition to recruit outstanding staff.

“There has never been a more exciting time to study engineering. The University and the city have a world-class reputation for engineering and we can build on that reputation by offering even better facilities and teaching to our students.”

Other major capital projects since 2007 include a £22.50 million Information Commons – a unique 24-hour learning environment for staff and students with the latest IT resources, including over 500 PCs, wireless networking and IT equipped classrooms; well-equipped spaces for teaching, learning and study; and 100,000 of the most in-demand books, along with a 70-seat café.

The University is also investing £8.06 million as part of an ongoing Teaching Room refurbishment to increase the number and capacity of teaching spaces to meet an increase in student numbers.

Last February a new £1.96 million Learning Hub was completed, incorporating the University’s Mathematics and Statistics Help services, languages for all programme, writing advisory service, along with academic skills workshops and dyslexia support service.

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