The Great Manchester Business Conference


Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell today spoke at The Great Manchester Business Conference presenting on the economic value of universities, as well as to provide a general snapshot of higher education in Greater Manchester.

Hosted by award-winning business presenter Steph McGovern and John Ashcroft, who is an influential economist and author of The Saturday Economist, the Conference was organised by pro•manchester and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. The focus of the day was to cast an eye towards the region’s future, focusing on key sectors, infrastructure and what truly makes Manchester great. Topics on the agenda included manufacturing, economics, skills and education. The HS2 debate was also discussed and there was a panel discussion on construction and property, as well as retail and e-commerce.

The conference – attended by Manchester Business School Head, Professor Fiona Devine and Chief External Officer, Dil Sidhu – saw Professor Rothwell discuss how students are the University of Manchester’s greatest asset. With a quarter from disadvantaged backgrounds, mainly in Manchester, the University spends £20million each year to support them.

Discussing business, Nancy told delegates that the University is keen to engage with SMEs, ensuring that the University is accessible. As a University, we collaborate globally, but with great strength locally, especially in Manchester’s Science, Technology and Higher Education sectors. And over the next eight years, the University will spend £1billion on estates work, including developing the old UMIST site.

Described on Twitter by one of the delegates as a “very honest, uplifting and inspiring speech”, Nancy also spoke about the work of our staff and students in the community. The University has employees volunteering as school governors in over 140 schools across Greater Manchester and students volunteer in the local communities particularly in disadvantaged areas.


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