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It is vital to AUDE that we work with both UK and international partners wherever there is shared work to be done and ideas and information to discuss that is beneficial to both sides. With so many shared challenges, not least of which is our individual contributions to the international work around sustainability and the climate crisis, universities on the other side of the world can often be an interesting comparison point. Where things are different there is something to learn about and these relationships always help us to consider our own approaches and solutions. In partnership we can learn from each other and improve together.
To this end, AUDE maintains strategic partnerships with equivalent organisations in the US (APPA – Leadership in Educational Facilities), in Australia and New Zealand (TEFMA – the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association), in Southern Africa (HEFMA – the Higher Education Facility Management Association), and in Canada/the US (SCUP – the Society for College and University Planning). The nature of our conversations ranges wherever we can usefully go – towards facilities management, funding, construction, energy and more.
Under these existing agreements a wide variety of mutually supportive activities occur, including reciprocal attendance at conferences. And in recent years, ten members of HEFMA have attended the AUDE Summer School, our leadership development programme that does not have an exact equivalent in any of our partner organisations’ countries.
Under these arrangements AUDE Treasurer Jerry Woods of Oxford Brookes University visited the TEFMA Conference (Sydney, September 2023), while incoming AUDE Chair Syd Cottle of the University of Liverpool attended the HEFMA Conference at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein during October 2023.
Jerry Woods’ presentation to TEFMA on behalf of AUDE discussed the current operating environment for UK universities, not least the freeze on funding in which fees per UK-based student have lost one third of their value due to inflation since the initial settlement of 2012. Operating surpluses for the sector sit below 2% compared to a historical average of around 5%. In the aftermath of the disruptions started by the war in Ukraine, and the shaking-out of pandemic-era supply issues, construction costs rose by 22% in 2022, while energy prices virtually doubled during 2022. All of this leads to significant operational difficulty. UK demographics remain on a favourable trend, with the number of 18-year-olds set to grow through to 2028. In a wide-ranging presentation Jerry also addressed issues with building cladding, innovation hubs and smart campus technologies, hybrid working and decarbonisation, including the geothermal heating exchange system installed recently at Oxford Brookes.
Syd Cottle’s presentation in South Africa focused on ‘systems thinking’ around maintenance regimes, where a rethink on system design has delivered new ways of looking at continuous improvement. In addition to this presentation, Syd sat on a panel of academics and international estates professionals to discuss the impact of climate change on the university estate where the impact of climate adaptation was seen to be already having significant repercussions.
Our international partnerships are an important strand in AUDE’s developing thinking in many areas and we are grateful to have partners, friends and sounding boards across international higher education.
Our key partnerships are with organisations including:
A membership organisation representing planners working in Higher Education across the UK.
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