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UHR Conference 2018, Bristol, 22-25 May 2018

Universities: competitive advantage or collective advancement?

This year, our 2018 Conference and Exhibition will take place in Bristol from 22-25 May.  

Following on from the huge success of our previous conferences, the 2018 event is set to be stimulating and inspiring yet again. The conference will bring those working in the sector an exciting mix of plenary speakers, workshops, legal sessions, evening social activities as well as a fantastic Gala Dinner and the UHR Awards.

The conference will be held at historic Mercure Grand Bristol Hotel in the heart of the city.

Find out more information about the conference on our booking website. 


Booking is now open!

You can book your ticket for the full conference, or book a day delegate pass now. Whether you're a member, non-member or corporate delegate, visit our booking site to see the full costs and reserve your place. 

Book your place now!

You can see the full list of rates on our booking website.



We are delighted to announce that our opening plenary speaker will be Margaret Heffernan.


Margaret Heffernan is international recognised as a leading media executive.

She produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years before spearheading multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard&Poors in the US. She was Chief Executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast Corporation. She is now Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme.

Margaret is the author of five books, one of which was named one of the most important business books of the decade by the Financial Times. She also writes for the Financial Times, the New York Observer and the Huffington Post. Her TED talks have been seen by over seven million people.

She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and continues to mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organisations through Merryck & Co.

Further timings and speakers are yet to be confirmed, but we can promise an eclectic mix of specialist from the higher education HR sector and beyond.


Theme - Universities: competitive advantage or collective advancement?

League tables, rankings and periodic assessments of Research, and, now Teaching, Excellence, place universities firmly in competition with each other.  Brexit will heighten the focus on each institution’s ability to recruit and retain a diminishing pool of highly talented staff. 

At the same time, we’re seeing increased emphasis on partnerships, including: increased collaboration to address research challenges; local partnerships and the regional role of universities; and, consortia of universities to achieve economies of scale and increased efficiency in delivering core functions and professional services.

Can this tension be met collectively or will universities become more fiercely competitive in this new environment?

The 2018 UHR Conference will focus on the people management implications of identifying opportunities for competitive advantage and distinctiveness in our own institution’s mission, whilst recognising the value of collaboration as a sector in responding to common opportunities and threats.  

  • How is HR responding to this potential tension and adapting as a function to a trend of increasing individualism?
  • Is our traditionally open culture amongst HR colleagues, where we readily share information and potential solutions to issues, still relevant and appropriate?
  • What's the tradeoff between a focus on the HR strategy, activities and achievements of our own institution and the success of the broader UK HE sector?

These are the questions we will be addressing in Bristol in May 2018.


UHR Conference 2017

The 2017 Conference took place in Newcastle and followed the theme of ‘All things to all people: what are universities for?’. With over 35 exhibitors and sponsors from across the sector on hand to offer useful advice and services throughout the event, and afterwards, there was lots of information and knowledge shared.

Get a taste of last year’s conference by watching our highlight reel or download the presentations.

Please email us at with any delegate, exhibitor or sponsor enquiries. Alternatively, you can call us on 0161 428 1250.

UHR Annual Conference 2017

Newcastle University

9th - 12th May 2017

The 2017 Conference took place in Newcastle and with an exciting line up of plenary speakers, workshops, legal sessions, evening social activities as well as a fantastic Gala Dinner and the UHR Awards. 

With over 35 exhibitors and sponsors from across the sector on hand to offer useful advice and services throughout the event, and afterwards, there was lots of information and knowledge shared.

The UHR Conference 2017 boasted a wealth of speakers, including a fantastic closing plenary from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. To watch the highlights video and find details of the programme, visit the 2017 conference page.


Previous UHR Annual Conferences

2016 - To find out about the conference in Brighton, click here.

2015 - To find out about the conference in Leeds, click here.

2014 - To find out about the conference in Warwick, click here.

2013 - To find out about the conference at York, click here.