Innovative partnerships – a strategic imperative

Join us at Swansea University’s beachfront Bay Campus this July for the CUBO Summer Conference!

‘Partnerships are the future’ was a resounding message from delegates and exhibitors at the 2018 CUBO winter conference in Leeds. Partnerships bring opportunities for growth and economies of scale; they widen access to skills, resources and markets; and they create greater operational agility.

Building on the theme of Innovative Partnerships, this summer in Swansea members will enjoy a packed programme of speakers and workshops, while case studies will highlight the success factors and importance of partnerships in the strategic development of university commercial and campus services – arguably never more important than in the current higher education funding landscape. 

The programme includes broader insights into leadership and commercial agility along with time to explore the exhibition and share ideas, experience and solutions among colleagues and partners. There is also the chance to network with the international delegation arriving fresh from the CUBO study tour.

Keynote speakers confirmed to date:

Andrew Rhodes, registrar, heads up Swansea University’s operational and support services, including HR, finance, estates, digital, and marketing and student services. Previously Andrew was director-general, operations, at the Department for Work and Pensions, the largest operational role in UK government.

Sahar Hashemi OBE co-founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US-style coffee bar chain, and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high-street brands with 110 bars and a £30m turnover. She is an internationally recognised thought leader on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Professor Charles Spence is Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. He has consulted extensively on consumer neuroscience and sensory marketing to PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestle, P&G and McDonalds, among others. 

He is also interested in the effect of the indoor environment on mood, wellbeing and performance. His many awards include the 2008 IG Nobel prize for nutrition for his groundbreaking work on the ‘sonic crisp’!

Rachael Flanagan, who after failing her Business A-level, started Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services, which is now a multi-million-pound business employing over 300 staff throughout Wales and the West. Nowadays, Rachael works “on the business, not in it” while mentoring other entrepreneurs. She has been invited to 10 Downing Street and was handpicked as one of Wales’s leading business people to attend an event during the NATO summit.

Samantha Murray, the London 2012 Olympic Silver Medallist and 2014 World Champion in the Modern Pentathlon, studied Politics at the University of Bath and knows about winning partnerships, when national governing bodies, coaches, mentors, teachers and universities work together to support personal and team success. 

Best practice workshops

Showcasing successful local collaborations from the higher education sector, our best practice workshops will give delegates an insight into some innovative partnerships. These include the Les Mills Partnership with the University of Leeds; Crowdfunder UK on using partnerships to get investment through crowdfunding; and partnering for sports success – how Swansea University has boosted sporting success through innovative partnerships across Wales. Further partnership case studies will come from the shortlist for the 2019 CUBO Business Partner of the Year Award.

CUBO research

The Swansea conference has also been chosen for the launch of research into the impact of commercial and campus services, currently being conducted with CUBO members. The results will be presented at the conference and contextualised with other higher education research findings. 


By popular request, there will be more networking opportunities in Swansea, with an extra hour of exhibition time, a fabulous social night and, of course, the 2019 CUBO Awards. Delegates can also join one of two tours of the Bay Campus, which has state-of-the-art facilities, its own seafront promenade, and is home to the College of Engineering, School of Management and Computational Foundry.

CUBO Awards

The social highlight of the conference is, without doubt, the black-tie gala dinner and CUBO Awards ceremony, when the winners of 10 categories in the prestigious CUBO Awards are revealed. The Awards dinner will be held on campus in the stunning Sir Stanley Clarke Auditorium, where delegates will be entertained by a traditional Welsh male voice choir and treated to a menu featuring the best local produce. This is the first time in many years that a CUBO conference has been held in Wales, and delegates will be treated to world-renowned Welsh hospitality. Our social evening on the first night of the conference will be held against the backdrop of Wales’s National Waterfront Museum with a local theme running throughout the event. 

Location, location

Swansea University’s Bay Campus, opened in 2015, is the only UK campus with direct access to its own private beach. Don’t forget to bring along your Swansea flip-flops, gifted to delegates at last year’s conference, as we shall be ordering fine weather to enjoy this first CUBO conference by the beach! The conference sessions will be held in the campus’s focal point, the Great Hall, yards from the golden sandy bay. Conference accommodation will be just a few minutes’ walk away, on the campus, in modern student bedrooms. 

Whether enjoying views across the bay from the bar, or enjoying a stroll around the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest, delegates will have ample opportunity to make the most of the beautiful coastal location.   

Join us in the city by the sea and birthplace of Dylan Thomas for another unmissable CUBO Summer conference. With the campus just minutes from the M4 motorway, and on the trainline from London Paddington and Manchester, Swansea is closer than you think.

For further information and booking, please visit the CUBO website. 

The Lions and Dragons CUBO Tour 2019

The 4th International CUBO Study Tour: 29 June–5 July 2019 

sponsored by Collegiate and Glide Student

For the fourth year running, CUBO is inviting international colleagues to join The Lions and Dragons CUBO Study Tour and the CUBO Summer Conference 2019. Running adjacent to the Summer conference, the study tour will take delegates on a journey of discovery visiting leading institutions in Wales and the West of England.

The tour will visit the University of Bath and the University of Bristol in the west of England, and Cardiff University and Swansea University over the border in Wales. The learning journey will include an in-depth look at the student experience, Residence Life initiatives, accommodation and dining services at these institutions.

A carefully designed social programme will enable delegates to enjoy the highlights of these historic cities.  

To find out more, please visit

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