'We asked for proposals covering distinctiveness strategies, new business models and collaborative working,' said HEFCE's Deputy Chief Executive, Steve Egan. 'These projects will help higher education institutions (HEIs) to find their own solutions to the challenging economic situation and to continue to make their vital contributions to society.'
The vice-chancellors of the participating institutions and project leaders met to develop plans for disseminating across the sector the best practice that will emerge from their projects. Details of the seven projects are given below:
- University of London has received an award to support and enhance employability, entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer within and across London-based HEIs via a Centre for Creative Collaboration.
- The Central School of Speech & Drama is working in a cross-sector collaboration involving Hampstead Theatre and The Roundhouse to investigate benefits of joint productions, together with exploration of shared services.
- Oxford Brookes University is working with the University of Bradford and Bournemouth University on implementing strategies to make them more distinctive in a highly competitive HE market. They will seek to learn from the private sector.
- The Universities of Leeds and Bristol's project deals with how to engage with and support HE staff so they can perform better during challenging times.
- The University of Plymouth and Teesside University will explore and develop strategies that the HE sector might use to benefit from opportunities created through their engagement with the business world.
- The University of Exeter's project, in partnership with University for the Creative Arts, University College Falmouth and University of Sussex, is intended to ensure that staff are well equipped to deal with the challenges of finding efficiencies in a more constrained financial environment.
- The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, as two distinctive, yet complementary universities in the same city, will look at ways in which they can co-operate in order to provide a sustainable future for each university, and benefit the region.
- The 'Leading Transformational Change' invitation was issued to vice-chancellors and principals at HEFCE's annual conference in April 2009 and seven projects were selected from the responses.