Elections, prizes and awards

From our Chief Executive
08 June 2017
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Dear member

Elections. Prizes and Awards: who will be the winners?

Elections come and elections go – and we are even in the midst of an election for our Board of Trustees – but whatever the result of ‘the big one’ (and before we doubtless disappear once again into more discussions on immigration and visa policies) I’d like to focus this month on what most of us are attempting to do, most of the time, which is to find ways of enhancing the quality of the UK welcome and international student experience offered by all our institutions.

And one of the ways in which we try to encourage and enable this is through our research and pilot project grants scheme, now in its second year and with another 20 or so projects currently running.

Full reports on all of them will be available later in the year but this month a sub committee of our Board will be considering which one (or two) might receive, additionally, our Paul Webley Award (s) for Innovation in International Education celebrating the project (or possibly two) which we believe has shown most innovation and ambition in its design and potential for impact in its delivery.

And judging this is not, once again, going to be easy, because out of some 50 applications which came in we awarded grants to such a range of institutions who were addressing such a massively wide range of issues.

You can see the full list of research projects here but all four of the research projects are worth an individual mention:

  • Glasgow University’s project on the needs of international summer school students
  • Lincoln Students Union’s on engaging international students
  • Manchester Met on expectations and realities and
  • Sheffield Hallam’s on family support

And then of the institutional pilot projects I will probably get into trouble by mentioning only a selection (though a full list of pilot projects is here) but just to give you a flavour of the range:

  • Dundee with an international student video project
  • Edinburgh College (great to see FE in there) with a major volunteering project
  • Liverpool Hope with an international academic ‘boot-camp’!
  • Nottingham Trent’s ‘global voices in science’ programme
  • Queen’s University Belfast’s focus on students doing biosciences
  • Royal Northern College of Music on Conservatoire international students
  • Etc, etc etc

So as you can see we seem to have all bases covered – HE, FE, Student Unions, England, Scotland, N Ireland (hope for Wales in the next round), the arts and the sciences!

Last year the main award went to Sheffield Hallam for their Sexual Health project (with a commendation for Plymouth University for theirs on counselling and wellbeing) and you can see their full reports here (together with all others 2015-16).

But who will win this year?

………….To find out you’ll have to come along to the presentation (on the Wednesday evening of conference at the end of this month) ………or tune into an announcement on our website soon after.

And if any of this inspires or encourages you to run a similar project in the coming academic year, look out for our announcement shortly, this year’s criteria and start to think what you could research or plan to make a real difference to your or to all international students in the UK.

Best wishes


Dominic Scott, Chief Executive, UKCISA

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