2015 has been a year of significant achievements for the NCUB Programmes Team. Having only joined the team as Head of Programmes in October, it’s important to emphasise so much of the team’s successes have come about from their hard work, energy and commitment to delivering for our stakeholders and members this past year.

Take for example, our Talent 2030 programme; this year we built on the successes of 2014’s engineering competition (sponsored by EDF Energy, PepsiCo and Rolls-Royce) leading to a 20% increase from the previous year in submissions from secondary school girls across the country. This work builds on our annual dashboard that we published in the autumn which highlights a worrying drop in the projected number of female applicants to engineering and technology related degree programmes. Our efforts to raise awareness and facilitate solutions on this issue include an exciting partnership with EngineeringUK to track and analyse outreach activities by universities and businesses which means the NCUB will be working on all fronts to help cultivate future female talent. Similarly, with the launch of the new Engineering Hub, we have successfully brought together valuable resources for businesses and students alike.

On the Food Economy programme, after a successful launch of the Leading Food 4.0 Report in March where Lord de Mauley gave they keynote address, we have been busy working with prominent industry leads building on the recommendations from the report and encouraging the industry to support a Food 4.0 Hub. The Hub will host relevant information for businesses and students and signpost them to external partner sites, bringing together wide-ranging sources of information into one coherent digital platform. This will be launched at our Food Summit in March 2016. There has also been significant interest in Konfer from Defra in the creation of the Food Innovation Network.

After the October launch of the first Growing Value Scotland report, with a private briefing with Deputy First Minster of Scotland, John Swinney MSP in early January, we are well into the second phase with research interviews complete for the second report to launch in March and on schedule to produce the final report and recommendations in May. Similarly, concerted efforts from the team to move things forward on the Growing Value Wales project is significant, with the recruitment of our co-chairs and a local project manager underway and two confirmed scoping meetings jointly hosted by Bangor and Cardiff Universities scheduled for early in 2016 and attendance of senior university and business leaders confirmed.

Looking ahead into 2016, the team is eager to be working on a number of emerging programmes in the pipeline whilst developing existing programmes to widen their scope: including a revitalised Women in Leadership programme and a potential new Digital Health and Wellbeing Task Force. We hope these projects will diversify our project portfolio with exciting new areas of work and widen our stakeholder and partnership network to make 2016 a dynamic and vibrant year ahead for the Programmes Team.

Jonathan Khongwir
Head of Programmes