• Date and time: Saturday 8 June 2019, 11.15am to 1.15pm
  • Location: RCH/037, Ron Cooke Hub, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Audience: Open to the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

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Event details

Universities are the engine room of discovery, extending the boundaries of knowledge to tackle complex global challenges by unleashing the power of the imagination and empowering new generations of thinkers.

Join us for a special Festival Focus Day, What Have Universities Ever Done For Us?, looking at the value of higher education. 

Following an introduction by University of York Chancellor Sir Malcolm Grant, we present our keynote speakers, Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission - which is reviewing the role of the civic university - and resource economist Anil Markandya. 

A crossbench peer, Lord Kerslake is the former head of the civil service and was permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government from 2010 to 2015.

Anil has worked extensively on climate change and energy and environment issues, and was one of the core team that drafted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is an advisor to many national and international organisations, including all the international development banks, UNDP, the EU and the governments of India and the UK. 

After our keynote speeches, expert panellists, including Hamish McAlpine of Research England, and Sue Hartley, Callum Roberts and Deborah Smith of the University of York, will discuss the benefits universities deliver.

Our Festival Focus Day is presented in collaboration with the UPP Foundation and HE for Research Professional. 

Why not stay for discussions featuring more expert speakers as we present a series of events on the theme of What Have Universities Ever Done For Us?

Please note: The times for this event are different to those advertised in the Festival brochure. 

MadeAtUni is a new campaign to bring to life the impact of universities up and down the country on people, lives and communities. View the 100+ ways universities have improved everyday life, and explore the breakthroughs in health, technology, sport and culture, environment, family, and community. Follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @MadeAtUni


About the speakers

Sue Hartley is Professor of Ecology at the University of York and Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), a pioneering interdisciplinary research partnership generating solutions to global environmental challenges. Sue is also the University of York’s Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience. Sue served as President of the British Ecological Society (2016-2017) and she is a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and a member of the Natural England Board. In 2009 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, becoming only the fourth woman to do since they began in 1825.

Hamish McAlpine is Head of Data and Evidence at Research England (part of UK Research and Innovation – UKRI). UKRI is a public body that distributes over £6.5Bn a year to universities and businesses to support research, and helping to produce economic and societal benefits all across the world. Hamish leads on policy related to metrics informing the Knowledge Exchange Framework, which will measure the performance of English Universities’ knowledge exchange activities. He previously worked at the interface between academia and industry, and transferring research outputs into industry. Hamish has a background in information and knowledge management and in his spare time upcycles bits of old aircraft into furniture.

Professor Callum Roberts is a marine conservation biologist in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. He was first tempted into marine science by a trip to the coral reefs of Saudi Arabia, where he studied behaviour and coexistence of herbivorous fishes. This led to a lifelong love of coral reefs.  In the early 1990s his interests in behaviour gave way to concern about the deteriorating condition of coral reefs, leading to his current emphasis on marine conservation. He worked on the BBC TV programme Blue Planet, appearing in the last episode, and was a series scientific adviser to Blue Planet II  

Deborah Smith is Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York. She trained as a biochemist and established the Centre for Immunology and Infection at York and was previously Head of the Biology Department. She sits on the University Executive Board, the University Council and is York lead for Athena-Swan activities.  Externally, Deborah has chaired the Medical Research Council Infection and Immunity Board and the Wellcome Trust Science Interview panel, and is currently a member of the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowships committee and the Council of Research England. She has also participated extensively in evaluation of international research, working for organisations including Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Institut Pasteur and FCT Portugal.  Deborah was awarded an OBE for Services to Biomedical Sciences in 2010.


Image credit: Doug James


Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible