In February this year Strathclyde launched Vision 2025, our new bold and ambitious strategy for the coming five years. As part of that process, many of you attended the launch event in the Barony which celebrated our performance between 2015 and 2020 and then laid out the headlines of our Vision for 2025.
Throughout our engagement in its development and launch, I have emphasised that our Strategy is successful, proven and distinctive and that – as long as we continue to focus on delivery of our agreed priorities – external recognition will follow as appropriate. I am delighted to say that this week saw an example of that external endorsement with news that the University has been ranked 15th in the Guardian University Guide – a rise of 36 places.
The Guardian’s league table considers factors such as: student satisfaction with courses; teaching and feedback; student to staff ratio; average entry tariff; career prospects; and, continuation rates. Our performance is a tremendous achievement for the entire Strathclyde community – one which reflects the hard work and dedication of colleagues from across the institution and one that we can all take pride in.
This a welcome external reminder of how we deliver within the context of our confident, progressive strategy and how, despite the challenges of Covid-19, we will continue to do so in the coming months and years ahead.
I am also delighted to inform you that earlier today we were shortlisted for Outstanding Library Team in the upcoming Times Higher Education Awards. As current holders of the THE University of the Year title, this continued recognition for Strathclyde over many years shows the breadth and quality of the work we are undertaking across the institution.
In other positive news, one of the University’s spin-out companies announced this week a £2.4million funding deal to support its further development. ClinSpec Diagnostics, a spinout from the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, has developed a way of detecting cancer at an early stage using a simple blood test. The funding is another success for the company, one of many the University has spun-out over recent years.
The theme of Technology Enterprise is proving to be an increasing area of strength for Strathclyde, with this week also seeing five University start-ups reaching the final of the Converge Challenge. This represents more than a quarter of all the finalists and is the highest number of all of Scotland’s universities.
With the recent publication of a Scottish Government report assessing the strength of the Scottish technology sector, written by Skyscanner’s former Chief Operating Officer Mark Logan, and the proposed establishment of five Scottish ‘tech hubs’, this is an area where there are growing funding and partnership opportunities. Thanks to our distinctiveness, Strathclyde is well positioned to contribute to this initiative through our research and technology strengths, our collaborative approach and our entrepreneurial mind-set.
Very importantly, next week sees our returning students re-engage with us and new students begin their Strathclyde journey. Given the current restrictions, our students will experience a different sort of Freshers’ Week than they would have anticipated when they made their application. However, thanks to the efforts of Strath Union and of Faculties, Departments, Schools and Professional Services, I am confident that their first week will be welcoming, memorable and very enjoyable.
Freshers' Week will be delivered online and I know there has been enormous innovation applied in all the aspects of the student welcome. There has been a complete focus on health and safety also, and I would once again like to thank all staff who have worked so hard in these preparations.
As our Return and Resume planning continues, the Executive Team has this week approved the reopening of the Livingstone Tower, the William Duncan Wing of SBS and Strathclyde Sport. Critical to an excellent student experience, Strathclyde Sport will be open from September 16th – with a range of new safety measures in place, details of which will be included in Inside Strathclyde this Monday.
Finally this week, please remember to book onto one of my planned Staff Engagement Sessions which are running over the coming weeks. I am very much looking forward to the nine sessions currently planned, where we will have the opportunity to focus on the continued delivery of Vision 2025, while also reflecting on the plans for our gradual return to campus.
Thank you once again for your terrific ongoing efforts on behalf of Strathclyde and please make the most of your Meeting Free Friday.