University Alliance

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University Alliance
University Alliance logo.png
Abbreviation UA
Formation 2006
Type Association of United Kingdom-based universities
Legal status Association
  • 49 Whitehall
    London SW1A 2BX
Region served
United Kingdom
John Latham, Vice-Chancellor Coventry University
Maddalaine Ansell
Formerly called
Alliance of Non-Aligned Universities

University Alliance is an association of British universities which was formed in 2006 as the Alliance of Non-Aligned Universities, adopting its current name in 2007.[1]

Its membership is made up of technical and professional universities with a mission to drive growth and innovation in Britain's cities and regions through research, teaching and enterprise activity, with a particular focus on links with business and industry and applied research with real-world impact.[2]

Alliance institutions educate almost a quarter of UK undergraduate students, including 25% of those on STEM courses and 41% of all part-time students. They deliver 39% of the UK’s sandwich degrees with a year's experience in industry and maintain links with over 16,000 businesses, including 11,000 SMEs.[3] It is the only UK university association or grouping which is above benchmark on both access and retention of students.[4] A large proportion of courses (43%) offered by Alliance universities are accredited by professional bodies.[5]

In 2015, University Alliance launched the Doctoral Training Alliance, the UK's largest multi-partner doctoral training programme building on its members' research strengths and industry-focused ethos.[6] The initial programme in applied biosciences for health was followed in 2016 with a second programme, focused on energy.[7] In 2017 it began a Teaching Excellence Alliance programme focused on professional development, sharing best practice and innovation in industry-engaged teaching and developing students' social capital.[8]

Alliance universities employ over 20,000 research staff and account for more than a fifth of teams undertaking world-leading (4*) research in health, general engineering and art and design, according to the most recent Research Excellence Framework.[9] In student enterprise, 40% of the UK's successful graduate start-ups – those surviving beyond three years – come from Alliance graduates and collectively graduate start-ups from Allliance universities employ more than 8,000 people and account for £172m in annual turnover.[10]

University Alliance has an ongoing partnership with the Australian Technology Network group of universities, following a memorandum of understanding signed in 2013.[11]


In 2016 University Alliance published a series of reports on the leadership role of universities as 'anchor institutions' in their cities and regions, supporting health and wellbeing,[12] life chances,[13] skills,[14] widening participation in HE[15] and innovation.[16] In February 2017, University Alliance put forward proposals on lifelong learning, calling on the government to take steps to ensure people can benefit from educational opportunities at all stages of life.[17] Following this, ministers announced funding for pilot projects to test new approaches to lifelong learning in the March 2017 Budget.[18]

Its policy work has also focused on the role of universities in supporting the UK’s industrial strategy[19][20] and nurturing arts, culture and the creative economy.[21] University Alliance's proposals for accelerated degrees[22] and for the creation of Research England within UKRI with knowledge exchange explicitly recognised within its remit have been adopted by the government as part of the Higher Education and Research Act.[23] The organsiation has also shaped the design and methodology of the next Research Excellence Framework, REF 2021, following a government-commissioned review by Lord Stern.[24][25][26]

Following the EU referendum, in August 2016 University Alliance highlighted the need for an effective post-Brexit replacement for EU Structural Funds as the UK leaves the EU, with £100m of ERDF and ESF monies focused on boosting skills and raising productivity in less prosperous regions being channeled each year through universities.[27] This was subsequently reflected in the recommendations of the House of Commons Education Committee's report Exiting the UK: Challenges and Opportunities for UK Higher Education in April 2017 and in UK government proposals for a 'Shared Prosperity Fund'.[28][29]


University Alliance holds an annual summit in June hosted by a member institution. In 2017 the event was held at the University of Salford with speakers including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and former UK Ambassador to the EU Sir Stephen Wall, and in 2016 at Coventry University with Education Select Committee Chair Neil Carmichael and Ryan Shorthouse, Chief Executive of Bright Blue.[30]

In September 2016, University Alliance held a conference with the Higher Education Academy focused on research-informed teaching and how it could best be reflected in the newly-created Teaching Excellence Framework.[31][32]


University[33] Current vice-chancellora
University of Brighton Debra Humphris
University of Central Lancashire Mike Thomas
Coventry University John Latham
University of Greenwich David Maguire
University of Hertfordshire Quintin McKellar
University of Huddersfield Bob Cryan
Kingston University Steven Spier
Liverpool John Moores University Nigel Weatherill
Manchester Metropolitan University Malcolm Press
Nottingham Trent University Edward Peck
The Open University Peter Horrocks
Oxford Brookes University Alistair Fitt[34]
University of Portsmouth Graham Galbraith
University of Salford Helen Marshall[35]
Sheffield Hallam University Chris Husbands
University of South Wales Julie Lydon
Teesside University Paul Croney
University of the West of England Steven West


The association is headed by the Chair (Professor John Latham), Deputy Chair (Professor Julie Lydon) and the Treasurer (Professor Edward Peck) who are elected and serve in office for a period of three years. Operational running on a daily business is overseen by the Chief Executive (Maddalaine Ansell[36]).


No. Chair Term University
1 John Craven 2006 - 2009 University of Portsmouth
2 Janet Beer 2009 - 2012 Oxford Brookes University
3 Steven West 2012 - 2016 University of the West of England
4 John Latham 2016 - present Coventry University

Chief Executive

No Chief Executive Term
1 Libby Hackett 2009 - 2014
2 Maddalaine Ansell 2015 - present


  1. ^ "New university group launched | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Strategic Framework 2015-20 | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  3. ^ "About us | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  4. ^ "Non-continuation rates summary: UK Performance Indicators 2015/16 | HESA". Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  5. ^ "Unistats dataset | HESA". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  6. ^ "University Alliance launches a new kind of doctoral programme for the 21st Century | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  7. ^ "Doctoral Training Alliance celebrates first anniversary with launch of new industry collaboration | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Most excellent! The Teaching Excellence Alliance | Wonkhe | Comment". Wonkhe. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  9. ^ "Home : REF 2014". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "About us | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  11. ^ "Australian Technology Network | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Universities are key to building healthy cities | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Supporting thriving communities: The role of universities in reducing inequality | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  14. ^ "Developing productive places: The role of universities in skills ecosystems | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Widening Participation report – in partnership with SMF & Open University | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-10-05. 
  16. ^ "Creating innovative regions: The role of universities in local growth and productivity | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  17. ^ "Enabling lifelong learning requires bold action from Government | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  18. ^ Sands, Mark (2017-03-08). "Ministers to test out lifelong education plans". Retrieved 2017-10-05. 
  19. ^ "Universities: delivery partners for industrial strategy | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  20. ^ "UA comments on the BEIS Committee report on Industrial Strategy | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  21. ^ "Supporting arts, culture and the creative economy across our cities and regions | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  22. ^ "University Alliance welcomes government support for new routes through higher education | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  23. ^ "UA comments on government amendments to the HE & Research Bill | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-03-15. 
  24. ^ "The portability or non-portability of research | HEFCE blog". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  25. ^ "Significant responsibility – an update on the consultation for REF 2021 | HEFCE blog". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  26. ^ "The second Research Excellence Framework consultation response | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  27. ^ "EU structural funds must not be forgotten in HE's fight for funding | Wonkhe | Analysis". Wonkhe. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  28. ^ "Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education - Education Committee - House of Commons". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  29. ^ "Universities will see their funding increase after Brexit, education select committee says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  30. ^ "UA Summit 2017 – Locally rooted and globally-connected | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  31. ^ "Breaking down the ‘divide’ between research and teaching | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  32. ^ "Research-informed teaching case studies booklet | University Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  33. ^ "University Alliance website". Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  34. ^ "Professor Alistair Fitt to become the next Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  35. ^ Todd Fitzgerald (10 December 2014). "University of Salford vice-chancellor Martin Hall announces retirement - Manchester Evening News". men. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  36. ^ "University Alliance names new chief executive". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 

External links

  • University Alliance Official Website
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