What can happen during a decade?
The University of Exeter has accomplished much between 2007 and 2017, highlights include admission into the Russell group in 2012 solidifying Exeter’s status as an elite British university, as well as completion of investments totalling over £300 million, to help raise the quality of research and improve the student experience, the impact of which can be seen in the university’s league table performances.
In terms of numbers the University has also been doing well. Between 2007 and 2016 (2017 data unavailable) data from HESA indicates that student numbers have increased by 38% from 16,000 to 22,000. While on the financial side, during the same period total income of UoE rose from £150 million to £370 million, with similar increases in expenditure, fuelling future growth at the uni. These figures alone can tell us a little bit, but we can understand more by looking at how this money is used or what this new influx of students have accomplished.
Infrastructure and investment
In the last 10 years the University has invested heavily into new buildings and services on campus, for new students some of these facilities are ones that many couldn’t imagine being without; but for people who have been at University through this development, they have seen how the campus has grown and flourished through this period.
In 2009, as part of Exeter’s £300 million capital investment programme; the university agreed a £133 million partnership with UPP to deliver more than 2500 new rooms to cope with the growing number of students at the University, with new accommodation sites opening since then, such as Birks Grange village and Duryard, as well as a major update to Lafrowda (by 2012).
During 2011, the new business school extension was opened, costing approximately £25 million and providing much-needed new facilities for lectures and seminars as well as new communal spaces. The £53 million INTO study centre was also unveiled to help support international students at the University. The environment and sustainability Institute (ESI) at Penryn campus in Cornwall too was opened during this year after a £30 million investment.
On 2 May 2012 the forum was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, creating a new centralised hub for all University services; with £48 million put into this architectural marvel, which includes a 404 person auditorium, seminar rooms, shops and dedicated student services.
On 2 May 2012 the forum was opened by Queen Elizabeth II
September 2013 marked the unveiling of the Russell Seal fitness centre, a purpose-built and fully fitted gym on the Streatham campus as part of a £20 million investment into sport and fitness by the University over the last 10 years.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, the university invested 12.7 million in St Luke’s campus, spearheaded by a 10.5 million refurbishment of the South cloisters providing new study spaces and learning facilities, mainly used by Exeter’s high-ranking medical imaging course.
The award-winning £52 million Living Systems Institute was completed in 2016, providing a new space for interdisciplinary collaboration in producing ground-breaking scientific research.
The award-winning £52 million living systems Institute was completed in 2016
Since 2008 the University has climbed from an average league table position of 23rd to 14th (between the three main UK rankings), peaking in 2016 with an average ranking of ninth. The highest individual ranking being seventh in the Times Good University guide in 2015 and 2016, and the lowest being 34th in the 2008 Guardian rankings, however this has vastly improved to a ranking of 13th in 2018. These charts really show the university has come a long way in the last decade, and is still vying for a position in the top 10 British universities.
The University of Exeter has been a pioneer in many areas of academic research over the past 10 years, such as astrophysics, climate change, translational medicine, functional materials, and systems biology; with respective research incomes of £4 million , £17 million , £15 million , £30 million and £11 million. Researchers have also won prestigious awards such as the Eddington medal for astrophysics, the Faraday medal from the Institute of physics and the Bigsby medal of the British geological Society.
Since 2008 the University has climbed from an average league table position of 23rd to 14th
Exeter has begun producing international leading research into functional materials such as graphene after it received a £5 million grant in 2008 to set up the centre for graphene science in collaboration with the University of Bath. The University has also become an international hub for climate change after researchers published a range of influential papers, hosting the transformational climate science conference in 2014 and the international panel on climate change in 2017, discussing the 2015 Paris agreement. Meanwhile academics at the University of Exeter medical school have published ground-breaking research into diseases such as dementia, mental health disorders and diabetes, snapping up a string of awards throughout the last few years.
Exeter has begun producing international leading research into functional materials such as graphene
Between 2008 and 2014 the amount of research judged to be international quality produced at the University rose by 8% from 90% to 98%. Academic papers that were classified as world leading rose by 12% from 17% to 29%. During the same time period, Exeter has gone from receiving £20 million of research grants during 2008 to being awarded more than £60 million in grants for the year 2014, displaying just how much the value of research from Exeter has increased.
Student life, diversity and activities
Exeter has been very successful in sport during recent years, for instance winning the BUCS Rugby League title in 2016, while also in the same year being named the Sunday Times Sports University of the year. Throughout the decade UoE has also been climbing the BUCS rankings, achieving fifth place nationally in 2013, 2016 and 2017, its best ever performance.
With Exeter ranking top of the Russell group in 2016 and 2014 on the National student survey, Student satisfaction has been consistently high throughout the decade, showing the amount of opportunities available in and out of the classroom as well as the high level of teaching which is again demonstrated by the University ranking gold- the highest award, in the new teaching excellence framework in 2017.
The University now has over 200 societies, some larger such as Bracton Law Society with more than 1000 members, as well as some smaller niche groups such as the Harry Potter and quiditch society. Even within societies there has been pronounced growth, such as Exeter Raise & Give raising over £220,000 during 2016 compared to £70,000 in 2007 through fundraising activities such as Jailbreak and the Rocksolid race.
Although this is a fairly comprehensive list of certain aspects of change at the University, there is still more as I could mention but then this article may probably be too long (if it isn’t already), but I hope I’ve managed to accurately highlight some of the good things that have been achieved recently at Exeter.