What are the aims of this project?
The project is designed to encourage all parts of the university to consider creatively how it could deliver high quality processes with maximum efficiency. It will be challenging, but we need to create headroom by getting more value from the same resource.
The university community has already shared great ideas that will and have provided benefits for the institution.
What will the savings be used for?
The money saved through the project will be reinvested in enhancing teaching, learning and research provisions, including building new facilities and refurbishing older ones. This will enable us to continue to build on our current student experience successes.
Can I get involved in the project?
Definitely! We want as many members of staff as possible to get involved. Visit the Getting Involved page, where you can see how you can contribute to this worthwhile project. You can send us your idea through our contact us webpage.
We want to unleash the imagination and creativity of the whole university community in support of this work.
Will our ideas actually be considered?
Yes; they already have. We have seen great participation, staff from all over the university have submitted their ideas and some have already been undertaken as successful projects.
Any large organisation could create an investment fund like this simply by cutting all budgets by a certain percentage. We are undertaking a different, more bottom-up approach which seeks to engage staff and identify real efficiency savings without compromising our core objectives – high quality teaching, world leading research, and making a positive impact upon society.
Why are there so many new buildings on campus if there is no spare money?
The university's spend on buildings is planned as part of a carefully budgeted capital programme. Our student numbers have grown steadily over recent years, and we have relied heavily on temporary teaching accommodation in Chancellors Drive Annexe, and on teaching space in older buildings. We also have insufficient large lecture theatres. Our current building programme is aimed at improving the student experience for all students.
Shouldn't the university just stop hiring so many new staff?
UEA student numbers have been steadily growing over the last couple of years and in addition we had a relatively poor staff to student ratio only five years ago. We have been investing in staff to correct that and thereby to provide students paying increased fees with the highest quality academic experience.
Will any schools of study be closed?
School closures are not under consideration. The Executive Team keeps the portfolio of courses offered by the university under regular review.
Will there be any jobs losses as a result of this project?
The intention behind this initiative is to focus on cost saving and income generation. Although a good deal of university spend is on staff, an almost equal amount is on the procurement of goods and services, and we will be submitting this to careful scrutiny. We can never rule out small scale restructuring, but our primary focus will be on examining the way we procure goods and services. We will also be looking for every opportunity to create surplus by generating new income.
What is all the money spent on at the moment – haven't the higher tuition fees made a difference?
The increase in student fees introduced in 2012 largely compensated for profound cuts in previous government income to the university, with a recent reduction of capital grants to almost zero. UEA's combined income from those two sources (fees and government grants) has essentially stood still – we have not experienced a windfall increase in funding as a result of the student fee increase but, equally, we know that we must continue to invest in our students and their experience at UEA.
The university has for the last few years been reinvesting almost all of what it currently earns. In particular there has been a strategic growth in academic staff which has resulted in an improved student to staff ratio. Five years ago our student/staff ratio was poor in comparison with most universities, with a consequent effect on student experience. It has since improved significantly, contributing to UEA's number one position in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2013.