Report on the NCUP 2020 AGM and annual Education Lecture

Report on the NCUP 2020 AGM and annual Education Lecture

This year’s AGM was held on 21 February at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, Guy’s Campus, Kings College, London, and featured a lecture by Professor Stephen Barber, titled: ‘What happens after Brexit?’

Stephen Barber is Professor of Global Affairs and Assistant Dean for Programmes, Business and Management, Regents University, London and he studies global political economy, public policy, government, business environment and public leadership. He is interested in Brexit and its potential impact on national business and local economies, industrial strategy and improving innovation.

Professor Barber pointed out how Brexit had exposed rather than created a division in UK society. The UK had entered Europe in 1975 from a position of weakness. There were many demonstrable benefits to membership of the European Community and the increasing globalisation it afforded, but these were not experienced uniformly across society or across the UK. The key to the leave vote was a vote against globalisation by those who felt they were missing out.

The world we are entering now is very different from the world when we entered Europe and the UK is now much less of a welfare state and more of a market state. Moreover, our industrial base is very different with very little heavy industry and more financially and technologically based industries. We have already entered a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and whether the UK can compete effectively outside of Europe remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, while the purported benefits of being in Europe are unevenly spread across the UK, the university sector is not. There are universities in the financially powerful south east of the UK but there are also universities in those communities where people felt disenfranchised by our membership of the European Community. Therefore, universities have a pivotal role in helping people in these areas to develop the necessary skills within a framework of lifelong learning. To do this, the universities need to continue to adapt their models of delivery and to meet the needs of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

There was a good turnout of more than 30 people for the lunch and lecture which followed. The AGM, held after the lecture, was followed by the presentation of awards to the five postgraduate students who won this year’s bursary competition. The names of this year’s ‘NCUP Bursary Award’ winners are given in the News item under ‘NCUP Awards’.

Roger Watson, Vice-President, NCUP