After lunch yesterday we had an excellent talk from David Sweeney, Director (Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange) at HEFCE about the challenges facing Universities. One of the things he drew attention to, was the amount of bad press we've been getting. university news used to be about exciting developments in research, but we are much more likely to make the front pages now with bad news stories. Attacks on free speech, anti-terrorism stories, poor education attainment, you name it, we've been on the front page about it. It was an interesting observation. You can watch what he thought we should do about it here.
Next up were the university showcases. We had two - Mark Franklin telling stories from a Multi Storey. How we had to do some very clever things with our network when the university wanted to build a multistory car park over land where we had multiple optic fibre network cables. Operation Cut N Hope, as Mark put it.
Our second showcases was Janine Barraclough taking about our hugely successful and award winning My Sustainable Print project which is saving about £1.6m a year.
Then it was the conference dinner - always a highlight. As conference chair, I'm very lucky that I get to meet and sit with our special guests. This year, I found my between Steph McGovern, our after dinner speaker, and John McCarthy. Talk about an ideal dinnerparty! Of course, we had the obligatory selfies:
Actually I think Steph had selfies taken with almost everyone in the room! She was a brilliant afterdinner speaker - very funny, and had so many tales to tell. She even told us about the latest row
on BBC Breakfast, or sofagate.Quite a colourful speaker as well ;-)