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University of Leicester at threshold of new era

Vice-Chancellor pays tribute to staff for 'fantastic' success of University

The University of Leicester has moved from a position of having a £1.6 million deficit two years ago to a projected £3.3 million surplus for this financial year.

This was described as a ‘fantastic turnaround’ and ‘a testament to the dedication of staff at the University’ by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob Burgess in his address to staff at the De Montfort Hall.

“The University of Leicester has made massive improvements over the last two years – we are a successful university and the reason for this is the people who work here. We are a great team and we have good reason to be proud of our achievements.”

The main achievements include:

· The recruitment of 18,500 students
· 3,000+ staff
· £150M turnover
· Top 20 for research and teaching
· Top 10 for research income per full time member of staff 

Professor Burgess pointed to successes in student recruitment that had hit record levels – last year also saw the largest number of undergraduates join the University. He estimated that the turnover of the University would rise to £150 million next year - an increase of £25 million from two years ago.

“This is not a result of an increase in Government funding but because the University is generating new income streams through new activities. These include new research grants, conference income and business activities.

“The fact that we are rated as a top 20 university by The Financial Times and The Sunday Times also represents a great improvement on the position a few years ago.”

Commenting on the financial position of the University, the Vice-Chancellor said that the University had moved from a position where it was in deficit for five out of six years to a position where it is now in surplus.

“This is a big turnaround for which I say a big ‘thank-you’ to you, the staff of the University,” said Professor Burgess.

He outlined the success factors as follows:

· Surplus of at least £3.3m
· Higher turnover 
· Growth throughout the year
· Good recruitment of home/EU students
· Increase in overseas students
· Improved research grant and contract income
· Increase in distance learning
· Conference/residences/catering

Professor Burgess said the cost basis of the University had been examined and spending had been brought under control. The University had also sought to achieve surpluses in areas where that was possible – for example increased recruitment at home and internationally, increased overhead recovery from research grants and increase in conference usage.

He added that the University needed to sustain this growth through continued successful recruitment of students, research and business activities. Through successful recruitment, the University was in a position to maximise its returns, generating surpluses and increasing investment.

Professor Burgess added that the University of Leicester still faced challenges. A combination of pay increases of up to 3.5%, incremental payments, 1% national insurance payable by employers and increased insurance costs meant that the potential £3.3 million surplus was eroded to £0.5 million. Projected over five years, the deficit would amount to £2.5 million.

However, the financial turnaround had meant the University could increase its investment. Professor Burgess announced:

· Investing £1 million into the site maintenance programme
· The Library extension – in abeyance since the seventies – would go ahead in 2004
· The biggest capital programme since the sixties, amounting to £30 million, was underway
· Residential facilities in Oadby to be developed

Professor Burgess indicated that the University also had many opportunities:
· Developing new projects
· Developing the campus (academic
and residential)
· Establishing new income streams
· Working as a team

All this would lead to the University maintaining and developing its place as a research and teaching-led institution in the top 20 universities in the UK.

Professor Burgess said a site development plan would be unveiled in the autumn and added that Leicester was alert to scoping new projects which would enhance its reputation and generate new income streams.

“We stand at the threshold of a new era for the University of Leicester. Working as a team, with everyone supporting the collective enterprise, we can enhance our position as a leading teaching and research led University,” said Professor Burgess.

August 2002

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Last updated: 2 August  2002 17:00
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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