Seven winners show growth of business thinking in universities

CUBO Awards honour Higher Education enterprise

Seven winners show growth of business thinking in universities

Colchester - July 4, 2013: - A university that has launched a new supermarket brand and beach club, a man who has opened up new links with China and one of the greenest housing developments in the UK were among the winners of awards from the Confederation of University Business Officers (CUBO).

The awards were announced at the Gala Dinner that ended the first day of the Uliving CUBO 2013 Conference at Wivenhoe House, on the University of Essex campus in Colchester. Helping to present the awards was Steve Davis, OBE, who is no stranger to that winning feeling, with 71 major snooker titles under his belt.

CUBO members themselves made the final choices in the six voting categories, using online voting.

Commercial University: Swansea

Commercial University of the Year was named as Swansea University, for the way in which its ambitious Commercial and Campus Services team has driven forward business development, with initiatives such as a premium branded supermarket, MyCostCutter, a joint football training initiative with Swansea City FC, and ‘360’ the first university-run beach and water sports club in the UK.

Department head Paul Robinson, accepting the award, said: “Our success at Swansea is based on a very simple mantra: Professional offerings from professional services.”

Other universities shortlisted were Durham University, for its highly successful Event Durham conference and events brand, and University of Nottingham, for the development of Orchard Hotel as a bespoke 202-bedroom conference destination,

Business Manager of the Year

University of York’s Deputy Director of Commercial Services, Phil Kember, is CUBO’s new Business Manager of the Year. In the past 12 months, Phil has presided over a complete departmental restructure, remodelled the university’s Commercial Services, with a new pay and grading structure, and introduced a chef exchange system that has created closer ties with the Universities of Zhejiang and Nanjing in Southern China.

Other strong contender for the tile were Peter Church, Director of Campus Services at University of Essex, Kate Davis, Head of Business Development at Leeds Metropolitan, and Martin Miller, University of Leicester’s Residential and Commercial Services head.

Best Student Housing

With hundreds of millions of pounds a year currently being spent on refurbishing and extending campus accommodation, the Best Student Housing Award was keenly anticipated. In the event, the award was scooped by University of Bradford, with its ground-breaking project “The Green - a 1026 bed sustainable student village in t he heart of the Yorkshire city. Opening in September 2011, The Green combines 4-storey townhouse and 6-storey apartments in a highly eco-sensitive design. It scored a record 95.05 per cent on its interim BREEAM assessment, the first multi residential UIK building to be rated ‘Outstanding’.

Also shortlisted were University of Birmingham, for its 15-year programme that has spent £100m on accommodation that now receives student satisfaction rating of 87 per cent, along with University of Leeds for its Ellerslie Hall complex, and Queens University Belfast for the way in which it has transformed its estate over the past decade.

Best Catering Service

Along with accommodation, catering also lies at the heart of University business, with hundreds of millions spent in campus outlets on food, drink and catering equipment. For the first time in CUBO’s history, there was a tie for first place, with Best Catering Service Awards going both to Imperial College and University of Kent.

Imperial were nominated for their in-house catering service Taste Imperial, which has shown huge growth over the past six years and now clocks up over 2.6m transactions per year, over a huge range of outlets and food options.

University of Kent, the other winner, has transformed its catering facilities over the past decade and has pioneered new services, such as a bespoke online food ordering service. Accepting award, Keith Williams, Kent University’s Head of Trading, said: “We try to dare to be different.”

Innovation Award of Excellence in Student Experience

As UK University battle falling student numbers and new enfranchisement of students as consumers, so delivering excellence in student experience has grown in importance. The Innovation Award has honoured University of Exeter’s creation of a £48m student services centre. The Forum provides a cutting edge hub for students to learn, shop, relax and gather and has also won a RIBA architecture award. The CUBO award also recognises Exeter’s unique ‘team forum’ approach that ensures holistic delivery of services. Exeter thus become the first university to win successive CUBO awards.

The three runners-up in this category were University of Essex, for its Edge Hotel School, the first of its kind for trainee hotel managers in the UK, University of Dundee for its innovative Scottish Internship Graduate Certificate and Swansea University’s 360 Beach and Watersports Club that is shared by students and local community.

The quality of nominations for CUBO Business Partner of the Year was so high that there was uncertainty till the very last minute as to which had emerged on top. The three contenders were:

  • StudentCom, for the huge impact they’ve made in getting students connected to digital media in their halls of residence
  • UNO Buses, an innovative public transport joint venture between University of Hertfordshire and University of Northampton,
  • UPP for its case study partnership with University of Nottingham on the £200m Bryon Building in the heart of the city.





In the event, it was UPP that emerged as CUBO Business Partner of the Year.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is distinct in being decided by a panel of experts drawn from CUBO and its partners, notably University Business magazine. This year, the judges unanimously decided to honour Steve Bradley, Director of Campus Services at Birmingham City University. In their award, the panel said Mr Bradley had shown over any years an unceasing commitment to quality and innovation. Presenting the award, CUBO’s Chair, Geoff Pringle, said: “This is a man who always been prepared to speak out and to challenge. As such, he embodies the spirit of innovation and daring that is embodied in our conference theme, Challenging Convention.”

Mr Bradley said: “This has been beyond belief - I never expected that such a wonderful honour would happen in my career.”

Promoting Excellence

Mr Pringle added: “I am delighted that we are now in the second year of the Uliving CUBO Awards. Following the success of the inaugural awards last year, we have increased the number of categories and have been pleasantly surprised by both the number and quality of the submissions received.”

“CUBO’s aim is about promoting excellence in the student experience and our Executive hopes these awards continue to serve as both inspiration and aspiration. We believe the CUBO Awards are helping the raise overall standards of our members businesses to the befit of students, staff, universities and the Higher Education sector as a whole.”

Bouygues Development and Uliving Managing Director Nicolas Guerin said: “We are delighted once again to be sponsoring the CUBO Awards that recognise excellence in the delivery of services for students.”

“Since partnering with CUBO, so much has changed for us - we are currently delivering almost 5,000 student accommodation units in three universities as well as exploring a number of new partnerships with others.”