Impact of Higher Education Institutions on Regional Economies: A Joint Research Initiative



Final Edinburgh conference

Universities and their Regional Impacts: Making a Difference to the Economy and Society

16th and 17th November 2010

Dalmahoy Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Edinburgh, Scotland


Programme available  here

The  final UK wide  conference of the initiative was held on 16th and 17th November 2010, at the Dalmahoy Marriott Hotel  in Edinburgh.
The conference brought  initiative researchers together with together with policy makers and funders to highlight the overall research findings of the  initiative  as well as the policy implications across UK regions. 
Conference sessions  provided an opportunity to discuss some of the fundamental issues about the impact of higher education, the purpose of higher education and future challenges facing universities.
Topics for discussion included:
  • What is Impact? How do Universities make a difference?
  • Students in their regions
  • Graduate migration
  • Universities and regional innovation
  • The wider impacts of higher education institutions
  • International perspectives on impact
Speakers and panellists included:   


  • Mr Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, The Scottish Government



  • Professor Phillip Gummett, Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales



  • Professor Walter McMahon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Mr Mark Batho, Chief Executive, Scottish Funding Council
  • Mr Fergus Devitt, Director of Higher Education, Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland


  • Initiative researchers included Professor Peter McGregor, University of Strathclyde, Ursula Kelly, University of Strathclyde, Professor Jeremy Howells, University of Manchester, Dr Paul Benneworth, University of Twente, Michael Kitson, University of Cambridge, Professor Moira Munro, University of Glasgow,   Professor Robert Wright, University of Strathclyde, Professor Kim Swales, University of Strathclyde, Professor Robert Huggins, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Dr Helen Simpson, University of Bristol, Professor Richard Harris, University of Glasgow, Professor John Brennan, Open University.
There were other guest speakers and session chairs including :
Professor Alan Hughes of the Universtry of Cambridge,Professor Elena Antonacopolou of the University of Liverpool, Vince McKeown of the Scottish Council Development and Industry, Adrian Day, of the HIgher Education Funding Council for England, Ann Millar  of the Scottish Funding Council , Alice Frost of the HIgher Education Funding Council for England and Dr Alun Tlusty-sheen of the University of Westminster and Chairman of Auril. Early Career Researcher sponsored place & Poster Competition
Therewas  a poster competition for early career researchers , and 8 successful applicants were invited to present their work. The poster presentations are available here.  
Networking Reception at the Scottish Parliament and Conference dinner  at Surgeons' Hall
There was a  special opportunity to see inside the award-winning Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood. The Scottish Parliament Cross-party group (Convenor Murdo Fraser MSP ) kindly agreed to host an evening networking reception with an opportunity for a tour of the building.    
Photo L-R: Professor Peter McGregor ( Joint initiative coordinator), Fergus Devitt ( Director of Higher Education, DEL), Professor Walter McMahon (University of Illinois), Ursula Kelly (Joint initiative coordinator), Murdo Fraser MSP ( Convenor of the Cross-Party Group on HIgher Education), Professor Paul Boyle ( CEO of the ESRC), Professor Phillip Gummett ( CEO of the HEFCW)