Video message transcript: Annual Report 2022-23
A video message from President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Ian Greer on Queen’s University Belfast’s Annual Report 2022-23.
Professor Sir Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast:
2023 has been a remarkable year for Queen’s University.
We’ve made global headlines by marking the 25th anniversary of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement, when we were joined by many of the internationally renowned architects of the world’s most successful peace agreement.
We have supported our students and our staff through extremely difficult cost of living challenges, and we’ve worked together with our staff, students and Trade Unions to find a local solution to sector-wide, long-running industrial action.
We have opened new world-class facilities.
We have contributed significantly to the local economy in Northern Ireland, and we’ve played our part in working towards a more sustainable environment.
Here are a few highlights from the last year:
At the beginning of the year, we announced a £7.2m investment package to support our staff and students in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Whilst this resulted in a deficit of £6.1 million for the year, it enabled us to put our students and staff first by making several interventions to support them during difficult times.
The eyes of the world were on us in April when we welcomed a host of global leaders for Agreement 25, a three day event to mark 25 years since the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement. Media coverage achieved an estimated value of over £14 million with coverage across 49 countries. And we raised over half a million pounds to launch a scholarship fund aimed at providing study opportunities for our students in the USA during their degree at Queen’s.
We have continued to invest in our world-class facilities this year.
We welcomed the first cohort of students to One Elmwood, our new Student Centre and Students’ Union, which is set to transform the student experience.
Sustainability was at the core of the new Queen’s Business School, one of the top business schools in the UK and Ireland. It is a pioneer in its use of geothermal renewable energy, whilst importing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.
And plans are also well underway for a new landmark Seamus Heaney Centre with many generous donors contributing to the new centre set to open in 2024.
Our impact on the economy is significant. An independent report by London Economics highlighted the multi-billion pound contribution that Queen’s makes to society.
We also underlined our commitment to resolving problems by working closely with others during the past year. The UK-wide dispute by UCU members included a boycotting of marking and assessment which risked many students missing out on their final grades. We worked extensively with the local UCU branch to reach a settlement, the first University in the UK to do so. Facing a deficit this year has meant we are able to offer a cost-of-living increase to our staff while enabling our students to graduate as planned.
Professor Sir Ian Greer:
So it’s been a really incredible 12 months. So much progress has been made on so many fronts.
The University’s reputation has been greatly enhanced by a range of positive actions and interventions - interventions that underline our guiding principle of putting our students and our staff first.
While we have achieved a great deal, there is much more to do.
So we will continue to aim high to ensure that Queen’s not only fulfils its full potential but makes a real difference to people’s lives in Northern Ireland through our societal and economic impact.