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Introduction: overview of performance

The successes enjoyed over 2017/18 build on a strong platform of progress, all the more significant in light of the challenges facing the higher education sector. The roots of some of these challenges lie in the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

We await the outcome of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding, expected in 2019, which may result in downward pressure on the unit of resource for UK undergraduate students. This comes at a time when the demographic downturn in the number of 18 year olds, coupled with a participation rate already at 50%, means that there is significant competition for students among British universities.

Despite these unprecedented challenges, I remain confident about the prospects for Manchester Metropolitan. This confidence partly stems from our financial resilience as a university with cash reserves to ensure our sustainability and low borrowing. This positive sentiment is reinforced by our position in Manchester, a vibrant and exciting city with a growing global reputation, where there is a strong demand for skills and innovation to drive business development and jobs.

Above and beyond these attributes, however, my confidence stems from having a clear strategy and an outstanding senior team, working under the leadership of our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malcolm Press. The aspirations of the executive are supported and enriched by meaningful contributions from members of the governing body.

We remain one of the most popular universities in the UK for undergraduate students and rank fifth for the number of applications*. We have significantly strengthened our International Office over the last year in order to allow growth in international students, both to enrich the teaching and learning environment for students from the UK, as well as to diversify further the income base of the institution.

A major priority for us is to enhance the student experience as well as student outcomes. Part of this work includes an investment of over £400m to finance development of the estate, IT infrastructure and other facilities to enrich the teaching and learning environment.

We have made significant progress with our research and knowledge exchange agenda, with the establishment of 13 Research and Knowledge Exchange Centres and a clear narrative about where our research strengths lie.

We have streamlined professional and support services across the University to drive both efficiency of operation and effectiveness of delivery. We have appointed a Chief Operating Officer and created the Professional Services Leadership Team. We are already seeing the benefits of this reorganisation, allowing us to work at pace in a rapidly changing environment. We’re also working harder than ever to maintain and build upon our close, collaborative relationship with our Students’ Union.

We are mindful of the role that technology has to play in higher education and a sector-leading initiative to digitise support for both students and staff is well underway. The first phase of the Student Journey Transformation Programme went live earlier this year, providing a more personalised interface to support the student journey from registration to graduation and beyond. This is just one of a number of digital projects in train, reflecting the significant attention that the Board and the executive have paid to enhancing our systems and information technology provision.

Additionally during the current financial period, we opened our Hydrogen Fuel Cell Innovation Centre, took on a lead role in the National Institute of Coding, and secured the funding for our School of Digital Arts, which is due for completion in 2021. We also launched PrintCity, a 3D print facility, designed to support the roll out of the fourth industrial revolution to SMEs.

These initiatives represent a repositioning of the University to take advantage of new opportunities. At the same time, we continue to disinvest in areas that are inconsistent with our strategic plan. The most significant piece of work in this regard is our withdrawal from our satellite campus in Cheshire. Through consultation and collaborative working, we’ve set our priorities to ensure a successful final year for students and to support staff as we approach campus closure in July 2019.

As ever, there is much for us to be proud about, from the provision of degree apprenticeships, where we train around 10% of the entire UK cohort, to the leading role we play in translating innovation to local businesses through Innovate UK-funded knowledge transfer partnerships.

I would like to thank my fellow Governors for their contribution and I extend my sincere thanks to all students and staff for their continued dedication. With a strong leadership team we have a clear direction and a firm commitment to ensure our future success and sustainability.

Vanda Murray OBE

Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors
Manchester Metropolitan University

*HESA data 2016/17 reported in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide

Financial Statements

The following documents are provided in Adobe Acrobat format:

Financial Statement 2017-18

Financial Statement 2016-2017

Financial Statement 2015-2016

Financial Statement 2014-2015

Financial Statement 2013-2014

Financial Statement 2012-2013

Financial Statement 2011-2012