UHR Conference 2018

Universities: competitive advantage or collective advancement?

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

Following on from the huge success of our previous conferences, the 2018 event was as stimulating and inspiring as ever. The conference brought 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 was held at the historic Mercure Grand Bristol Hotel in the heart of the city.


2018 Programme

We were delighted to welcome Margaret Heffernan, Professor Moira Clark, Matthew Syed, and Professors Susan Rigby and Steve West as our main plenary speakers.


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 focused 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?


Did you make it into the #UHR2018 Flickr gallery?


Presentation slides

The following presentations were made during the plenary, legal and workshop sessions. Please note that you will need your UHR member login to access these pdf documents.


This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of the site and services and assist with our member communication efforts. Privacy Policy. Accept cookies Cookie Settings