Throughout my time as Vice-Chancellor my overarching goal has been to work with colleagues to position Queen’s as a University of international stature serving the people of Northern Ireland, and to ensure that our work has an impact on people’s lives here and around the world.
Impact is a word that is increasingly used in our daily conversations. As one of the UK’s leading research institutions, as a recipient of public funds and to meet our REF requirements, conveying the impact of what we do is becoming more and more of a necessity.
We only have to look at the success of last week’s Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Research Showcase Day as an example of how important conveying the outcomes of our work is.
A first for the University, it was organised as part of the ‘Local Talent, Global Impact’ initiative and gave colleagues in the Faculty the opportunity to share their work and demonstrate its impact to audiences across Belfast.
I attended, along with many members of staff, a lunchtime event by Professor Phil Scraton from the School of Law who spoke movingly about his work as a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The impact of Phil’s research into the 1989 disaster has been commended by Parliament as ‘a huge service not just to Hillsborough families but to this country’ and the project has broken new ground in ‘truth recovery’.
Phil’s work, along with all the other research showcased on the day, demonstrates the breadth of our impact, from helping society learn from past experience to shape a better future to direct support of economic development.
The AHSS event also helped to reinforce the close links this University has with Belfast and the contribution we make to the cultural, economic and social life of the city and to Northern Ireland.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in the Showcase Day. Ahead of the next Comprehensive Spending Review and the likelihood that the DEL budget will come under pressure once again, events like this are important in helping to demonstrate to key stakeholders the value of higher education and the brilliant work being undertaken by the people of Queen’s.
We should all take pride in that work and play our part in conveying to everyone in Northern Ireland how vital Queen’s, and higher education, is to society here.
Queen’s and its students and staff have been a strong force for good across Northern Ireland for 150 years, and I hope colleagues across the University can continue to take pride in each other’s achievements as we work together to impact positively on society.