The third annual event, which showcased the strengths and achievements of the sector to the world, was held from 30 April to 7 May 2012 and saw universities across the United Kingdom working in partnership to deliver an eight day celebration of Higher Education
The campaign incorporated the 2012 Games as an over-arching theme and highlighted many of the diverse ways universities across the UK have engaged with and contributed to London 2012.
Each day of the week we shared our student and staff successes, showcasing our world-class research and celebrating the contribution our University makes to our community and society.
Speaking about the campaign, Seb Coe, Chair of London 2012, said: "I'm delighted that Universities Week 2012 will be celebrating the Higher Education sector's engagement with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Games is a chance for our nation to showcase our talents, skills, culture and sporting abilities. The Higher Education sector has a vital and diverse role to play in this.
"One of the aims of London 2012 is the delivery of lasting partnerships, so it is great to see organisations coming together to showcase the abilities and achievements of the UK's students and academic community to the world.
We also tweeted throughout the week using the hashtag #uniweek
Why not follow us on Twitter at @leedsmet
Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, writes below on on our University's contribution to the 2012 Olympics, to the region and to the HE sector. We will be adding a new article every day this week.
Today, for Universities Week, we will be posting interesting facts about our University throughout the day on our Twitter account - @leedsmet. Follow us so you don't miss out!
If you'd like to join in with the Universities Week Twitter campaign, you can tweet your facts about how universities contribute to our society by using the hashtag #uniweek.
Today, as part of Universities Week, we are celebrating our dynamic and vibrant research culture at Leeds Metropolitan, where many of our research institutes and centres are leaders in their field. Our researchers push knowledge boundaries to achieve real social and economic progress and change.
To celebrate and promote the outstanding quality and variety of research projects being undertaken all across our University, we are today launching a series of 60-second research videos featuring researchers from each faculty, giving us a brief account of their current projects. This video project will be built upon over the course of the next year.
Today for Universities Week we are focusing on our work with the wider community and putting the spotlight on our fundraising activities with the Development & Alumni Relations team.
Over the past two years, alumni, friends and staff of Leeds Metropolitan University have given over £500,000 worth of gifts and sponsorship for a range of projects and activities that help students.
Something that has really struck a chord with our donors has been scholarships that reward students who have achieved excellent results in their studies before coming to the University, and who are in need of financial support in order to excel further. Vicky Hayhurst, Leeds Metropolitan's Head of Development & Alumni, explained: "Thanks to the generosity of over 900 donors, we're now in a position over the next three years to provide at least £150,000 worth of scholarships for students from low-income families. Such support can be life-changing."
Scholarships and bursaries at Leeds Metropolitan support students in a wide range of academic areas and some of them are specifically targeted at students from the Leeds area or at athletes who have the potential to represent Great Britain.
As Vicky Hayhurst points out: "People don't always realise the impact they can have by supporting their university. Universities produce and employ people who solve a range of important issues in society - they are many charities in one organisation."
The Wilf Paish Scholarships
The Wilf Paish Scholarships were founded in memory of one of athletics' best-known coaches, Yorkshire-based Wilf Paish, who coached javelin winners Tessa Sanderson and Mick Hill and trained more than 100 Olympian athletes. They support talented student athletes or student coaches who need funding to enable them to reach their full potential.
Stephen Potter and Robbie Hill, who are both studying for a Masters degree in Sport Coaching at our University, were the first recipients of Wilf Paish Scholarships. The scholarships are funding their postgraduate studies, giving them access to some of the world's best coaches and supporting their own coaching ambitions. Robbie Hill, who currently coaches at West Park rugby club, said: "I'm delighted to have received the opportunity to continue my studies through the Wilf Paish scholarship and I'm keen to carry his legacy on as I aspire to reach his potential."
Earlier this year seven Wilf Paish Athletics Scholarships were also awarded to help talented track and field athletes cover the costs of their training. Top British javelin thrower Matthew Hunt, wheelchair athlete Louis Speight, multi-eventer Daniel Gardiner, aspiring race walkers Tom Bosworth and Alex Wright, 400m hurdler Sophie Wood and 16-year-old 800m runner Jordan Bransberg are all hoping for success in 2012.
Shamirah Grant Memorial Bursary
The Shamirah Grant Memorial Bursary will provide annual grants of £1,000 to students from local schools who come from a disadvantaged background and who are studying for an arts-related degree. Shamirah Grant was the nine-year-old daughter of a Leeds Met student. She was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Chapeltown in May 2011. Her parents, Gary and Jennifer Grant, approached Leeds Met to see if we could help keep her memory alive.
We worked closely with Gary and Jennifer to create the Shamirah Grant Memorial Bursary, which has been generously supported by our alumni.
The bursaries will be awarded to students undertaking an arts-related degree course as this was the area that Shamirah was most passionate about.
We are raising money for this and other scholarships through a zip wire charity challenge at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the home of the Leeds Rhinos, on Saturday 26 May. Fundraisers will be able to hurtle down the wire at 30mph from the top of the Carnegie Stand onto the pitch below.
Click here for more information.
Other scholarships we can provide thanks to our donors include:
Further details about how our fundraising supports students are on our giving pages.
Today's University Week topic is the impact of Higher Education on local economy. Over the past ten years, our University has supported the start-up and growth of over 600 businesses, creating over 1300 jobs in the region with a collective turnover of more than £42 million through its business incubator (QU2) and Business Start-up services.
Case Study: Tom Greveson, CEO of Revolution Viewing
During his final year of an Events Management degree at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2004, Tom entered an enterprise competition, run by both Leeds Metropolitan and the University of Leeds, with his idea for a 360 degree virtual tour company. Tom was a joint runner-up in the competition and won funding to begin setting up his business - Revolution Viewing.
In September 2005, Tom joined QU2 at Leeds Metropolitan with his three-man team: "I came to QU2 as they offered subsidised office space, business advisors, access to funding, workshops and the opportunity to work alongside other businesses at a similar level to ours. The networking has been invaluable: one company that I worked with at QU2 is now developing the software needed for the recent business I have set up and we continue to work together on projects."
Within nine months of joining QU2, Revolution was a team of four. It is now a team of 13, including six Leeds Metropolitan University graduates. "One of the biggest drivers for us is the talent that comes out of universities," says Tom: "They have excellent, specific, knowledge and technical skills through their multimedia and music degrees and are able to pick up new software easily.
"QU2 has been instrumental in the growth of Revolution Viewing. The key has been having an on-going support network of experienced advisors. There is a real emphasis on working as a hub: everyone is in a similar situation of being eager, starting up a business and sharing knowledge."
Since expanding his business, Tom has continued his contact with Katie Rigarlsford, QU2 Business Development Manager, taking full advantage of the networking opportunities available. Katie recently recommended Tom for a prestigious Goldman Sachs small business programme for which Tom was successful in gaining a place, working with a business mentor who has now become the co-CEO of Goldman Sachs.
Business Enhancement Scheme
Simon Baldwin, head of the Enterprise Office at our University, has reflected on how universities can help stimulate growth in the economy.
"For many years businesses have been encouraged to work alongside higher education institutions to improve business performance. Yet, experiences relayed to me by business leaders, indicate they find universities large, sprawling organisations which are difficult to engage with.
"This does not however, have to be the case - universities have the ability to stimulate private sector growth and become a catalyst for business development.
"We are told that the private sector will provide the growth and employment necessary to off-set contraction of the public sector. But I have heard said many times, especially by small businesses owners, they would like to employ more staff but can't afford the time, cope with the bureaucracy or take the risk of hiring someone now that they will have to let go a few months later.
"In response to these challenges, our University has developed the Business Enhancement Scheme: a programme which creates graduate employment and promotes business-university collaboration whilst minimising risk and red tape for employers, enabling them to grow their workforce and business."
The Scheme allows recent graduates to work on specific projects, such as the introduction of marketing or the development of IT systems, supported by an academic expert, where extra resource and creative solutions are sought quickly to support business growth.
Case Study: Beata Olah, Leeds City Council
Beata, a 2009 graduate of Leeds University in Managing Performance, began a 16-week project at Leeds City Council in December 2011 after searching for jobs in events management in the cultural industries through the Graduates Yorkshire service. With academic support from Dr Emma Wood based here at the UK Centre for Events Management, Beata is developing a cultural evaluation toolkit to capture and report on the impact of cultural activities in Leeds. The model will show the contribution of festivals and events to the local economy and communities and will be integrated into the Council's future work.
Beata said: "At university I worked on research and evaluation projects focusing on arts and events management. I developed a strong background knowledge of the cultural industries and now I am putting that knowledge into practice. It is very interesting to see how those tools and theories which I was researching during my studies can work in practice in Leeds. I am gaining practical work experience whilst making contacts and, through Leeds Met, I can attend professional development workshops, access online courses and can discuss my progress with my Project Officer."
Graduates benefit from paid work experience and the opportunity for continued employment following the project. Schemes run from eight weeks to two years and are designed to be flexible around the employer. For all schemes of six months or longer the business pays only the direct employment-related costs with Leeds Metropolitan funding the cost of academic support and administration.
Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor, Leeds Metropolitan University, writes on the University's contribution to the 2012 Olympics, to the region and to the HE sector.
2012 marks twenty years of University status for modern universities like Leeds Metropolitan and we have a lot to be proud of over these last two decades. Modern universities have championed access and opportunity, whilst also developing high quality innovative teaching and relevant real world research. Of late we have seen an inappropriate and frequently ill-informed focus on messages of segmentation in the sector, with a very small number of universities presented as "excellent" whilst the majority are presented as of lesser value. There are 116 universities in the UK and I firmly believe that the value of higher education lies in our truly diverse sector; I am very proud of the major contribution we continue to make to the sector and to our region.
It is clear that times are challenging for the sector and for the economy as a whole. However, as a flexible, enterprising and professional institution we are well placed to embrace the future. We have recently launched a new suite of weekend courses to help our prospective students to gain extra qualifications to boost their CVs whilst continuing to work fulltime. Teaching will be spread over six weekends a year in a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses whilst offering an authentic student experience. We will also be launching two wholly online courses, our MBA and MSc Events Management.
2012 is also the year in which the Olympic Games come to our shores and as excitement continues to grow, we have much to look forward to in Yorkshire. Sport and universities are inextricably linked. In individuals, this relationship develops skills such as leadership and teamwork that are applicable not only to the sports industry but to a wide range of professions and business and for our graduates this is a great asset in terms of employability. At Leeds Metropolitan we are heavily involved in the Games, providing training facilities for elite athletes competing in London 2012 as well as producing world-class sporting research.
We are looking forward to welcoming the Chinese Olympic team to Leeds in July as they use the city as their official European pre-Games base and in particular the track and field team, who will train at our Headingley Campus. The Olympic Games offer endless opportunities to be part of something special and their values of respect, friendship and excellence are ones we can particularly relate to at Leeds Metropolitan.
One of the key areas in which the work of Universities can benefit society is the pursuit of world-class research. We have a dynamic and vibrant research culture at Leeds Metropolitan. Our researchers push knowledge boundaries to achieve real and measurable social and economic progress and change. Staff from our Centre for Men's Health presented a report at the European Parliament in Brussels last week, which details the health challenges facing men across Europe and is having a real impact influencing health policy makers across Europe.
100 of our students will be working at the London Games as assistant venue events managers, offering them a once in a lifetime work experience programme. Our current students Alistair Brownlee and Johanna Jackson will be hoping to represent Team GB in triathlon and race walking respectively, whilst wheelchair sprinter Louis Speight is hopeful of a place at the Paralympics. Edward Barber, one of the designers of the Olympic torch for London 2012, which last week won the UK Design of the Year award, is also a former student!
Researchers in our Carnegie Faculty have just completed a three year project looking at children and young people with type 1 diabetes in the region. Our staff showed inconsistencies in the delivery of care across the region and will ultimately develop a model of care to improve the management of children and young people with type 1 diabetes across the whole country. There are many other such examples across our wide range of academic areas.
Universities clearly have an extremely important role to play in shaping society, stimulating growth in the economy and providing opportunities for innovation and creativity to thrive and to flourish. The higher education sector is more relevant today than it has ever been. Through our innovation, our flexible approach to learning and our absolute commitment to putting students first, we look forward to a successful and exciting future.