14 university-led proposals have been funded to maintain higher education jobs in teaching, research and student services, and to invest in projects to support the wider economic recovery.
The £27 million Higher Education Investment and Recovery (HEIR) fund, announced in August 2020, was created to support universities to maintain vital capacity, and aid economic recovery in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fund – whose parameters were set by the Welsh Government – is being used for a range initiatives such as those supporting diverse groups of students, including students in Welsh medium higher education or from under-represented backgrounds, and according to institutional financial need.
Institutional and collaborative proposals have also been funded for their contribution to institutions’ civic mission and long-term sustainability, while working in partnership with students.
Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “This is welcome support from the Welsh Government to help ensure a strong higher education sector that can best support our country’s economic recovery.
“Against the backdrop of a challenging Covid-19 pandemic, providers have innovated during the year in a diverse range of areas, including supporting blended learning – that includes learning through the medium of Welsh – and providing support for early career researchers.
“We look forward to seeing the very real impact of the funding on the experience of students over the coming months, and seeing how our providers themselves influence the recovery in our communities.”
Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams said, “I’m so proud of what our universities in Wales have contributed to in the past year, from supporting the effort of fighting the virus, and also how they’ve continued to teach and support their students.
“Last year we provided £27m to support universities in dealing with the impact of the pandemic, and it’s great to see how this money has gone on to support with teaching, research and student services.”
Professor Julie Lydon, Chair of Universities Wales, said: “We are pleased to see how the Higher Education Investment and Recovery Fund is being used to support a range of areas, including research and blended learning.
“Wales’s universities have been central to the national effort during Covid and will have a key role to play as the country recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
“At this time of uncertainty, this investment will support universities in driving this recovery and building upon the vital benefits they bring to people and places across Wales.”
The bids to the £27 million fund were allocated according to financial need; Welsh Government priorities; priorities identified by the higher education sector’s Looking Forward Group, including growing and enhancing civic mission and working with students’ unions, how the project secures sustainability beyond 2020/21 and the impact of collaboration; and the extent to which known challenges to Welsh medium education and different groups of students are being delivered.
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||£600,000|
|University of South Wales||£600,000|
|University of Wales Trinity Saint David||£1,500,000|
|Wrexham Glyndŵr University||£1,495,000|
|LTN blended learning: Universities Wales Learning and Teaching Network (LTN) led by Wrexham Glyndŵr University Bangor University, Aberystwyth University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of South Wales, Open University in Wales, Students’ unions, NUS Wales, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, Quality Assurance Agency||£2,730,000|
|Protecting the research base led by Aberystwyth University Bangor University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Swansea University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David||£7,393,194|
|Scoping joint provision: Universities Wales Learning and Teaching Network (LTN) led by Swansea University Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Students’ unions, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol||£251,000|
|Skills Factory led by Bangor University Coleg Cambria, The Open University in Wales||£1,600,000|
|Supporting arts centres led by Aberystwyth University Bangor University, Swansea University||£175,000|
|USW & UWTSD collaborations led by the University of South Wales University of Wales Trinity Saint David||£2,850,807|
This funding is separate to the additional £40 million for “the most vulnerable, as well as strengthening advice and support services for students” and the additional £10 million for universities “to focus on the particular challenges faced by students during the current Covid-19 pandemic” and financial hardship.
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Notes W21/08HE: Higher Education Investment and Recovery Fund – Outcomes gives details of the outcomes of the £27 million Higher Education Investment and Recovery Fund, established in 2020/21 in order to support universities to maintain vital capacity and aid economic recovery in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
About HEFCW The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales – HEFCW – is the public body operating between Welsh Government and higher education providers. We regulate fee levels at higher education providers, ensure a framework is in place for assessing the quality of higher education and scrutinise the performance of universities and other designated providers. We also provide funding for higher education teaching and research, and apply our influence and expertise to help deliver Welsh Government priorities for higher education that also have wider societal and economic benefits.