Welcome back message from the Vice-Chancellor 2024

Dear colleagues

Welcome back to the start of a new year. I hope that you all had an enjoyable and restful break and are feeling ready for the term ahead. I would particularly like to thank colleagues who worked during the holiday to support students, keep key facilities open, and our buildings and grounds safe. I myself had a wonderful holiday season, cooking for friends and family, getting out into the countryside, and braving what seemed like non-stop rain.

I am excited to be back at work, knowing that we have much to look forward to this year, as well as some challenges ahead. Let me start by congratulating Professor Sir John Iredale who was knighted in the New Year Honours and Professor Ronald Hutton who was awarded a CBE. Read our media release for the full story, which also includes details of honours bestowed on University alumni and a former member of staff. I am exceedingly proud of the achievements of our current community and our alumni and former colleagues.

2024 will see us progress the delivery of our Temple Quarter campus and the Isambard-AI supercomputer. We will continue to develop the new academic and professional service structures to ensure we remain agile and effective. We will also take our Silver Teaching Excellence Framework award and build toward Gold. A list of further key updates can be found below.

2024 is also very likely to see a General as well as local elections. We will do our utmost to make sure that all political parties understand how important universities are for creating opportunity, both locally as well as nationally and internationally. With inflation still in place, and no sign of any change to domestic fees, we will want to navigate the coming year with some caution to ensure we remain financially resilient, whichever party comes to power in the future.

Staff voice

When I started this role eighteen months ago, I promised that the listening never stops. I and the senior team know how important it is to remain connected to your day-to-day experiences of working at the University of Bristol. This term, we’ll be launching our Staff Experience Survey, which will run for a month from the end of February. Please take time to complete it. We will take the results seriously and let you know what we will do differently because of what we have heard. We are keen to find out what you think about our strategy, how you feel about our organisation and our approach to blended working. We are also going to ensure that your views feed into our continued work to be a truly inclusive institution.

Sharing your views with us — through surveys, online spaces, such as the Thanks and Recognition Wall, and in-person events, like the US2030 Staff Voice workshops — is critical if we are to continue to be a great place to work. I hope you’ll take up all engagement opportunities, including my VC surgeries and the In Conversation events. You can also find out more about other ways to get involved on the Staff Engagement SharePoint site. If you have other ideas about the on-going development of the University, then I’d be delighted to hear more. Please email vc-team@bristol.ac.uk.

  • My next VC surgeries are running on 18 January, from 10 am — please book a slot here. These are almost full up, but you can also book available slots on 14 February, from 9 am.
  • Our next In Conversation is taking place in the afternoon of 19 February with Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Enterprise. Please hold the date for what will be an exciting conversation about research, enterprise and innovation.

Key updates

  • Thank you to everyone who attended a Staff Voice workshop before Christmas. The outcomes of these will be shared soon. In the meantime, we have updated our FAQs in response to your questions about the University Structures 2030 programme.
  • Please note the changes to the structure of the academic year, particularly that the start of Welcome Week 2024 will be 9 September 2024. This Wednesday (10 January) you will receive an email with further updates that you need to know about the programme, so please keep an eye on your in-boxes.
  • The Reparative Futures programme is now in its mobilisation phase. Colleagues are working to update the University logo and we will provide further information later this term.
  • We know that recent UK Government announcements aimed at reducing legal migration to the UK will have a significant impact on universities, our international colleagues and students, and wider family members. I want to assure you that we will continue to collaborate with sector bodies and more widely, to lobby the UK Government on the impact of the changes. The Staff Immigration Team is available to assist staff.
  • 2023 was a defining year for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC). From the opening of the new Bristol Dental School to work on the TQ Research Hub, all is captured in this summary review, including updates on the exciting projects lined up for 2024.
  • A reminder that support is available for staff and students affected by the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

Thanks to you all for the difference that you make to our University. I look forward to meeting many of you during 2024.

With best wishes


Professor Evelyn Welch
Vice-Chancellor and President
University of Bristol