Event Preview: Universities UK IHEF

The fifth annual International Higher Education Forum returns to London this month

This past year has been a pivotal time for the higher education sector, with many significant political changes, and this pattern looks set to continue.

Universities UK and Universities UK International’s fifth annual International Higher Education Forum will be held on 21 March at the ILEC Conference Centre in London. The Forum’s participants will have the chance to meet and connect with experts from across the UK and overseas to address current uncertainties, explore the role of UK higher education, and consider their own successful international strategy. 

Highlights include:

·       Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, Professor Robin Grimes, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, will examine what the higher education sector has to offer as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union and its subsequent position in the wider world, and explore how we can develop, engage and grow our role and influence.

       The UK higher education sector plays a key role in the global research and innovation community. We work with peers to face the grand challenges of our age, and our        graduates hold senior positions in start-ups, corporates and governments in numerous countries – encouraging bilateral trade and industry.

·       Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor & Principal, University of Wollongong, will discuss the impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on the Australian higher education sector. Australia has a number of FTAs with other countries, including Singapore, the US and New Zealand. These FTAs – in addition to eliminating tariffs – improve market access for Australian exporters of services including education, and allow more openness and predictability on areas such as intellectual property. Following the vote to leave the European Union, the UK higher education sector will need to seek new relationships and agreements around research collaboration and international education, and Professor Wellings will explore how trade deals are an opportunity for higher education and what the UK could learn from Australian FTAs.

Last year’s event sold out, with 400 senior delegates representing over 300 higher education institutions from across the UK and overseas, and 55 expert speakers from around the world.

·       Phil Baty, Editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, will be giving us an exclusive look behind the scenes of the the World University Rankings, drawing from previously unpublished data to highlight the important role that international outlook plays in the ranking and in driving excellence in higher education. Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield​, will then bring an institutional angle and talk about the #WeAreInternational campaign is leading the charge to show that internationalisation in all its forms is vital to UK higher education.

Other themes will include:

·       Professor Rebecca Hughes, Director Education, Education & Society, British Council, will be chairing a stimulating session on the increasingly important role that universities are playing as global institutions operating within their civic and local contexts. At a time where local authorities are expected to replace lost grant revenue with increased business rates, universities are increasingly coming to the fore as ambassadors for their localities, wielding soft-power, global advocacy networks and connections in support of the visitor economy, inward-investment and trade.

·       Jon Deer, Deputy Director, Research Division, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Dr Gabi Lombardo, Director, European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities, will discuss their work on existing uses of indicators to measure performance and approaches to institutional strategies for building and maintaining reputation with Duncan Ross, Data and Analytics Director, TES Global. â€‹

·       Gordon McKenzie, Chief Executive, GuildHE, will explore transnational education for small and specialist institutions, with international education specialist Janet Ilieva giving an overview of transnational education and the latest trends. Transnational education takes many forms including international campuses, partnership teaching models and distance learning, and there are now 701,010 students studying on UK university courses outside the UK, compared to 436,585 international students in the UK.

Last year’s event sold out, with 400 senior delegates representing over 300 higher education institutions from across the UK and overseas, and 55 expert speakers from around the world.

Book now to secure your place at this year’s Forum.

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