Minister refers to UPP Foundation in first keynote speech


In his keynote speech at Universities UK’s annual conference in Birmingham, the largest annual gathering of UK university Vice-Chancellors and Principals, Universities Minister Chris Skidmore MP referenced the work of the UPP Foundation in creating Civic University Agreements.

In a speech with saw Chris Skidmore MP set out his ambitions for building on UK universities international reputation for cutting edge, the Minster said: “Universities are crucial to our society; as institutions, they are woven deep both into the fabric of local communities but also our national reputation.

“The work of the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission earlier this year has helped to tease this out and I am pleased that so many of you have committed to create Civic University Agreements going forwards, to cement your contribution to your cities and regions.”

Over 50 of Britain’s leading universities have made a commitment to their local communities through pledging to produce Community University Agreements (CUAs). The pledges mean that those universities have committed to put the economy and quality of life in their home towns and cities at the top of their list of priorities.

Following its year-long inquiry into the future of the civic university, the key recommendation of the UPP Foundation’s Civic University Commission was to create CUAs. While the Commission heard about a great deal of impressive civic activity, it rarely saw evidence of a strategy – backed by rigorous analysis, ambitious objectives and a clearly articulated plan – to be truly civic.

The UPP Foundation, the registered charity founded by University Partnerships Programme (UPP), has since hosted an augural Civic University Conference, which saw the launch of a new guide on how to prepare CUAs – including a foreword from the Minister.

The event also saw the publication of a paper from Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students (OfS), exploring the synergies between CUAs and access and participation regulation and funding.

Keynote speakers at the event included Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission, and Sir Nicholas Serota CH, Chair of the Arts Council England.

The UPP Foundation is now set to launch a competition for universities and other organisations to host the ‘Network for the Civic University’. Seed funding will be awarded to the winning bid to establish the Network, which will develop best practice through information sharing, establish and run a peer-review benchmarking system and advocate for the civic role nationally.