A trio of ambitious universities with entrepreneurship and innovation running through their DNA.

Cardiff is very much a learning city with three universities all playing a vital role in driving the competitiveness of the regional economy. Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the recently created University of South Wales – formed following the merger of the universities of Glamorgan and Newport, boast between them nearly 80,000 students and over 12,000 staff. Here vice-chancellors Professor Colin Riordan of Cardiff University, Professor Antony J Chapman of Cardiff Metropolitan and Professor Julie Lydon of University of South Wales talk of their exciting growth strategies, collaboration with the private sector and why the Cardiff city-region is a great place for students to live, learn and play.

Drive And Ambition

Cardiff University has the goal of becoming one of the world’s top universities. It has a strategy which puts innovation and entrepreneurship at the very heart of the institution, as it continues to drive commercialisation of research and an impressive graduate start-up rate. It is already a magnet for world leading expertise and research, exemplified by its Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute.

The University of South Wales has a strong presence in the capital with its creative industries ATRIuM campus in the city centre and the world renowned Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It plans to expand its creative industries offer and forge even greater levels of collaboration with key employers across the Cardiff city-region and beyond.

Cardiff Metropolitan University has set the ambitious goal of becoming one of the UK’s top ten new universities over the next decade, while actively accelerating levels of commercial engagement and knowledge transfers with the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Colin Riordan: “Underpinned by creativity, entrepreneurialism and innovation, our plans will see world leading researchers working in partnership with industry, policymakers and business to bring job creation, new enterprise and inward investment.

It will also see an innovation centre and translational research facility and encompass our new city centre campus.”

“Ultimately being recognised as a top global university is about reputation – both academic reputation and our reputation with employers.

Working With The Private Sector

Colin Riordan: “Cardiff produces among the most employable, innovative and entrepreneurial graduates in the UK. This can provide many opportunities for industry and business looking to access a ready pool of talent on their doorstep.”

Antony J Chapman: “There is need for constant innovation in product and service development and a thriving culture of entrepreneurship, as well as dynamic leading edge scientific and technological development and research that attracts investment. In collaboration with business we strongly believe that the university sector, and Cardiff Metropolitan can be a major source of strength in the economy.”

Julie Lydon: “A major element of the university was founded by the private sector and that commitment to the needs of employers remains in our DNA. We now measure our successes against the biggest in the UK, not just in Wales.

“As a mark of our success we are currently working through a staged expansion of our ATRiuM campus, which is one of Cardiff’s landmark buildings.

“We are extremely proud of our track record of getting our graduates into employment. In the creative industries they can be found working in large organisations like the BBC. They also set up their own businesses in areas likes animation and television production All are playing an important role in the success of the economy.”

Cardiff as a City to Live, Learn And Play

Colin Riordan is well placed to give an external perspective of the capital, having worked in cities across the UK and in Germany.

“I wouldn’t have expected this to be honest, but Cardiff is the best city I have ever worked in.”

“There is a great combination of an accessible lively city centre with all the varieties of culture you might want; sport at the highest levels; the magnificent coast and countryside nearby; good transport connections and the buzz of a capital city that is very international. There is always something to do and the people are very friendly. It all adds up to a compelling package.”

Antony J Chapman first came to the city as an academic psychologist at Cardiff University in the 1970s and for the last 15 years has been at Cardiff Metropolitan (formerly UWIC).

“I have enjoyed every moment. It is a city like no other, with a rich educational, cultural and industrial heritage.

“Its civic centre and parks are unspoilt and the developments of the 1990s are just as fabulous in Cardiff Bay and the centre. The Cardiff of the millennium has grown in self –confidence, vibrancy and multi-cultural diversity than when I first lived here in the 1970s.”

Julie Lydon: “As a city Cardiff has everything to offer students: a buzzing modern capital city; a thriving social life; a superb arts scene; a Premiership football team in Cardiff City and a location which means that students can be on the beach or in a national park within half an hour.”

Economic Viewpoint

Colin Riordan: “Universities are an indispensable component to the economic competitiveness of Wales. It is vital that we work with business, Welsh and UK governments, local authorities like Cardiff and civic society. Getting this right means there are some fantastic opportunities to drive future prosperity in Wales.”

Antony J Chapman: “I am very optimistic as this is a fantastic city providing massive potential. As an inaugural member of the new Cardiff Business Council I have a focus on helping to shape the local authority’s development strategy. I would like to think that the international students at Cardiff Metropolitan and at other universities in the region contribute to the vibrant nature of this wonderful capital.”

Julie Lydon: “Although the capital city is the headquarters for many of the regions’ major employers, business and industry are not bounded within Cardiff. They are spread across the whole region and the city’s economic ecology is interlinked with the Valleys and other towns and cities in South East Wales.

“The University of South Wales provides a major regional university that enables Cardiff and the region to punch above its weight in competition with other major city-regions in the UK.”

New City Centre Campus

Ambitious plans for a £45m new Cardiff and Vale College site in Canal Parade have been given the green light by Cardiff Council. The new campus will be completed in time for students to start their dedicated science, technology, engineering and maths courses in Autumn 2015. The striking development has been designed with sustainability at its heart and it will provide world class facilities for 2,300 students and 350 staff. While it will bring together many College activities under one photovoltaic roof, CAVC will still continue its work across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.