Aberystwyth University staff and students thanked for “a year of great progress”

Graduation 2022.

Graduation 2022.

31 January 2023

Aberystwyth University’s Chair and Vice-Chancellor have thanked the institution’s staff and students after a year of significant achievements highlighted in its latest annual report.

The 2021/22 Annual Report and Accounts summarises the year within the University – including details of major progress in the areas of teaching, research, and its financial performance.

The University met an important financial target by achieving a balanced budget during the academic year. In line with plans put in place to ensure that the University is financially sustainable, the year to the end of July 2022 ended with a small operating surplus. This important milestone in the University’s plans follows two years of higher costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic that had a short-term impact on its underlying operating position.

During the year, the University welcomed its first intake of veterinary medicine students into its £2.4 million state of the art facilities. It is Wales’ only vet school and the facilities were officially opened by the then Prince Charles.

The National Students Survey continued to recognise Aberystwyth University for its teaching excellence and found it the best university for student satisfaction across Wales and England.

There was growth in student numbers across the University’s portfolio and this, coupled with the first time the University has broken even since 2013/14, is giving the institution cause for optimism, while recognising the challenges posed by the wider economic outlook.

In the report, the Chair of Aberystwyth University’s Council, Dr Emyr Roberts described the academic year as a time of great progress during which “our society emerged from the worst of the [COVID-19] pandemic”. He said the 22/23 academic year will be one of “renewed vigour and confidence”.

Dr Roberts said: “This year has encapsulated why Aberystwyth University is such a highly respected institution. With impact and influence on a local, regional, national and international level, our staff are helping to change people’s lives and play a major role educationally, economically and socially.

“While the past two years have presented unprecedented challenges, primarily because of COVID-19, in 2021/22 the University continued to respond admirably to the testing circumstances and at the same time make progress towards its strategic aims and strengthening its underlying financial position.

“The Vice-Chancellor, staff, students and stakeholders deserve much credit for how they have dealt with the uncertainties. They have achieved much during a time of difficulty and have impressed the Council with their resolve. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all who have worked so hard.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor, added: “It is with great pleasure and pride that I can report on the 2021/22 academic year as a period in our history when we truly emerged from the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We came through the challenges faced thanks to the efforts of a huge array of people - national, regional and local stakeholders, our own staff and student body, and our fellow community members here in Aberystwyth.

“The excellence in teaching and research for which we are renowned continued; a testament to all these efforts, and the University succeeded in doing all of this while maintaining our hard-earned financial sustainability.”

Among the achievements featured during the year are:

  • The University was also in the top 10 for student satisfaction in the National Students Survey for the seventh year in a row.
  • The University’s proportion of three and four star ratings in the Research Excellence Framework increased. Five departments - Geography and Earth Sciences, Computer Science, International Politics, IBERS and Mathematics – were at or above the UK average for research that is world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Student numbers across our portfolio continuing to grow.
  • The University’s Learn Welsh provision being rated “excellent” by Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales. The University was also chosen to deliver the Urdd’s annual Message of Peace and Goodwill.
  • Construction beginning on a new £2.9 million solar array for the Penglais Campus.
  • Work getting underway on renewing Hen Coleg/Old College, our inspiring landmark on the Aberystwyth seafront.

Preparing to welcome our first nursing students for the 2022/23 academic year