Birmingham Newman University welcomes GuildHE Expertise in Action Report

25/09/2023 by Newman Staff
Front of Birmingham Newman University

Birmingham Newman University is a GuildHE member, an officially recognised representative body for UK Higher Education, championing distinction and diversity in the sector.

Birmingham Newman University has been featured in the GuildHE Expertise in Action Report, highlighting the impact of funding knowledge exchange activity at smaller and specialist institutions.

The report presents case studies from a set of GuildHE members who received time-limited, one-off knowledge exchange funding alongside an analysis of the impact of the projects. Birmingham Newman University was one of ten case studies that received funding who do not receive the flexible formula funding for knowledge exchange, Higher Education Investment Funding (HEIF).

The Expertise in Action Report captured how Birmingham Newman University through Knowledge Exchange funding supported Newman Health & Wellbeing (NH&WB), a social enterprise launched in 2016 to address the need for professional counselling and psychotherapy in Birmingham and to engage with local youth through meaningful outreach. The funding allowed the University to support NH&WB to form meaningful partnerships throughout the West Midlands area and deliver counselling and well-being training in colleges throughout the region. After only a few years, NH&WB had already reached over 1,040 clients, including 373 children and 667 adults, and made an impact on students, staff, and the wider community.

The Key findings of the report are:

  • Smaller and specialist institutions are critical for economic growth as institutions like Birmingham Newman University “punch above their weight” when engaging with businesses and communities relative to their size.
  • Funding this activity leads to transformative impact to leverage their deep expertise to create social impact through a diverse range of initiatives.
  • The lack of predictable funding and predictable funding streams risks losing the benefits of long-term collaborations, hindering the longevity of partnerships, and constraining networks and projects that have already shown transformative impact.
  • There is a clear need for a sustainable funding model to expand projects, build staff capacity, develop long-term partnerships, formulate effective strategies, and promote public engagement, innovation, and place-making.
  • Size does not equate to effectiveness as adjusting knowledge exchange activity based on student numbers highlights that smaller institutions perform exceptionally well in engaging with businesses, communities, and the public.

Professor Peter Childs, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Newman University, said: “We welcome the Expertise in Action Report as it shows how smaller institutions like Birmingham Newman University can create impact through Knowledge Exchange funding, providing opportunities and benefits for our students as well as the wider community. I echo GuildHE’s analysis that better Knowledge Exchange funding can drive better recognition of the socioeconomic values smaller Higher Education institutions have to the UK’s research and innovation ambitions while making an impact on the ground.”

Birmingham Newman University is a GuildHE member, an officially recognised representative body for UK Higher Education, championing distinction and diversity in the sector. GuildHE’s 60 members include universities, university colleges, further education colleges, and specialist institutions, representing over 150,000 students. Member institutions include some major providers in professional subject areas including art, design and media, music and the performing arts; agriculture and food; education; business and law, theology, the built environment; health, and sports.