Higher Education Estates & Facilities: Innovation & Infrastructure Conference & Exhibition

  • Thursday, 19 November 2020
  • The Studio, Manchester
  • 09:25 - 16:25
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Higher education in the UK continues to attract international students and investment, as well powering domestic R&D into global science, manufacturing and emerging technologies. The HE sector must maintain this growth - particularly in a competitive, post-Brexit landscape; delivering sophisticated, cost-effective housing in the purpose built student accommodation market and developing cutting-edge, low-carbon campus facilities will be integral in maintaining the UK's world-leading HE sector.

This CPD-accredited national conference programme will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions and opportunities for delegates to engage with ideas including:

  • Integrating IoT, artificial intelligence and climate sustainable technologies into the construction of HE estates and facilities in order to expediate interactions between students and university services, support groundbreaking research and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Breakthrough domestic research and development opportunities in disciplines of material engineering, next-generation energy, healthcare and sustainable construction that could be further supported by innovative HE estates and facilities. 
  • Explore distinguishing factors between the fragmented regulation of the private purpose built student accommodation market and university providers; as well as discussing policy recommendations to develop best practices in the provision of facility services and management, safety, accessibility, on-time project delivery and affordability.
  • Learn about universities leading the adoption of sustainable built environments by utilising large-scale photovoltaics, integrating biodiversity into construction and sourcing energy locally.                        
  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Remarks


Keynote Address

Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, Department for Education (invited)

Outdated 'mono-culture' higher education buildings are being replaced by engaging, multi-purpose, inter-connected estates that support more personalised, responsive and flexible learning. Built HE environments are increasingly designed to improve connections between students and services, enable groundbreaking R&D, support national sustainability targets and encourage wellbeing by making greater provisions for walking, cycling and biodiversity on campus. Investing in facilities and estates purpose built to support technical, scientific and sporting courses can boost revenue income to the university from R&D, athletic organisations, and extracurricular groups; in addition to attracting international students looking to make use of domestic purpose-built facilities and estates to accommodate their academic interests. 


The conference keynote will spotlight how investment in HE estates and facilities can continue to unlock the potential of UK regions, covering specific examples of:

  • Estates undergoing transformational projects that are expected to create new jobs, increase tourism, attract investment and generate scientific, manufacturing and healthcare R&D opportunities.
  • British universities pioneering the development of sustainable built environments by sourcing fuel and construction materials locally, large-scale installation of photovoltaic panels and toxic-free materials; as well as reducing water-usage, carbon emissions and waste.
  • Regulation to strengthen the domestic PBSA market - developing stronger working-relationships between private sector providers and public sector institutions in order to protect students from project delivery and safety oversight; as well as policy to support the role of HE estates and facilities in contributing to local industrial strategies predicated on improving skills, developing industry and building infrastructure.     

Speaker TBC


Headline Sponsor


Question & Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area

"Entering the PBSA Market"

Investor interest in the UK PBSA market remains strong despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The sector is well-positioned to potentially benefit from trade stand-offs between large nations like the United States and China, as Chinese students seeking to study outside the US look towards the UK's world-leading higher education sector. The domestic PBSA market is on a strong-footing, with an abundance of commercial opportunities available to those operating in procurement and supply-chain markets. For example, demand for student accommodation continues to rise around 30% faster than the number of beds developed. As of December 2019, 114,000 purpose-built student accommodation rooms are in the delivery pipeline; with two-thirds having been granted planning approval.


The PBSA market holds opportunities for organisations in the traditional construction, furnishing and infrastructure sector(s) - as well as providing opportunities for innovators adapting traditional sectors to be more sustainable; lowering carbon emissions in both construction and operation. This presentation will explore the PBSA market in detail - providing delegates with the information necessary to identify where their organisation can engage with the market.    


Case Study

This slot is reserved for organisations looking to engage delegates with services and opportunities that compliment conference presentation and discussion panel topics. If you're interested in delivering a Case Study, contact Luke on 0161 376 9007.

"Sustainable HE Estates & Facilities"

Universities in the UK are pioneering the development of sustainable estates and facilities on campus. Research commissioned by international engineering consultants  BuroHappold found that prospective university students feel more positively about universities with plenty of green space that feature compelling, engaging and interesting architecture. However, in pursuit of more innovative and sustainable built environments, the HE sector's construction-footprint has grown - contrary to the rest of the public sector. This presentation will explore initiatives undertaken in the UK to reduce carbon emissions in construction and operation phases, generate sustainable energy sources and improve the inter-connectivity between facilities, services and students; as well as demonstrating the affordability of sustainable construction in HE. Some examples of domestic sustainable HE estates and facilities projects include:

  • Locally sourced materials: When commissioned to develop the University of East Anglia's Enterprise Centre, the Adapt Low Carbon Group sourced 70% of the wood used on the building from the nearby Thetford forest.
  • Renewable energy: The University of Nottingham's Carbon Neutral Laboratory of Sustainable Chemistry was the first carbon-neutral laboratory to be built in the UK. The building itself incorporates technologies that will allow it to reach carbon neutrality over its lifetime; having been built from natural materials, the energy required to power the laboratory will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biofuel - with excess energy created by the building providing enough carbon credits over 25 years to pay back the carbon used in its construction and used to heat nearby office developments.            

Question & Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


Legislating for HE Estates & Facilities Panel Discussion

This panel will bring together Members of both parliamentary Houses sitting on All-Party Parliamentary Groups covering a diverse range of subjects in order to discuss how the sector(s) they engage with through the respective APPGs can contribute to the development of cutting-edge, climate conscious and cost effective HE estates and facilities. 


Afternoon Refreshment Break

"Best Practice in HE Estates & Facilities Development"

Freedom of Information requests made to 145 institutions show that the number of students who have been delayed moving into fixed accommodation has risen by 47% in two years - from 539 in 2017 to 793. Student housing charity Unipol says up to 2,000 students have faced disruption this year - their data shows 23 student accommodation blocks being built across the UK were not completed in time for the start of term in 2019, compared to 13 developments the year prior. Inspector visits to a number of student accommodation sites across the UK  have uncovered multiple instances of aluminium composite material being used as cladding - a type of combustible material that was prohibited from use on high-rise buildings after the Grenfell tragedy; raising concerns of a repeat of the fire that tore through The Cube student accommodation in Bolton last year.


Despite growth in the PBSA market in recent years, it's undeniable that providers still have work to undertake in ensuring students are safeguarded from potential hazards, displacements and the economic, social and educational impact of developing. This presentation will consider proposals from the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government - such as the establishment of the Building Safety Regulator and the forthcoming Fire Safety Bill; as well as high-impact policy recommendations from Unipol and other campaign groups that are designed to improve the safety and efficient delivery of student accommodation.


Case Study

This slot is reserved for organisations looking to engage delegates with services and opportunities that compliment conference presentation and discussion panel topics. If you're interested in delivering a Case Study, contact Luke on 0161 376 9007.

"Student Led Panel Discussion"

The conference programme will explore integration of climate sustainability targets, artificial intelligence, IoT devices and local industrial strategies into the development of HE estates and facilities. This panel discussion will seat professionals working in the PBSA market and university EAF departments next to students from across the UK preparing for diverse career pathways and ask:


  1. What do students at different educational intersections (i.e FE transitioning to HE, BA to PhD etc.) look for in regards to university estates and facilities?
  2. How can purpose built accommodation provide services that compliment contemporary student-life?
  3. Is there a particular university service that, regardless of institution, would benefit from integrating IoT connectivity and/or artificial intelligence in order to expediate interactions between students and university services?   

Chair's Closing Remarks


Event Close

  • Register for event

Having difficulty paying through Eventbrite? If you would like assistance registering your place please contact me on 0161 376 9007 and i'll be happy to assist. If you are awaiting funding you can request us to hold your place today to ensure you do not miss out.

Discounts for 3 or more delegates are available.

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Luke Boulter
  • Gain 8 CPD Points.
  • Hear from HE institutes, architects, student accommodation market leaders and policy makers about the development of innovative, sustainable and cost effective HE estates and facilities.
  • Explore how the integration of biodiversity, wellbeing and IoT inter-connected services can improve the student experience.
  • Learn from case studies of groundbreaking research and development supported by purpose built HE estates and facilities.
  • Network and knowledge-share with domestic and international peers, students, procurement/supply-chain professionals, PBSA market leaders and cutting-edge researchers - developing shared solutions to common challenges.
  • Review existing central and local government policy as it pertains to regulation of the growing PBSA market. The UK Student Accommodation Report (12.12.19) cited deals worth £2.5bn transacted by the end of October 2019, with the long-term strength of the market supported by demand continuing to outstrip supply nationally and increases in en-suite accommodation rents tracking 16% above the rate of inflation since 2014.    
  • Assess institutional readiness to work towards new, national carbon-neutrality targets against frameworks designed to identify room for improvement and recommend appropriate action. 
  • Contact Details
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details


The Studio, Manchester

The Studio, Manchester

Situated at the heart of the city, just a hop, skip and jump away from all major transport links: thestudiomanchester has much more than 10 vibrant spaces to offer. Whatever the legendary Manchester weather has to throw at you, you’ll always find the warmest of welcomes at thestudio.

Featured Events

  • Project and Programme Management: Delivering Quality Outcomes

    • 25 June 2014
    • 08:30 - 17:00
    • The Principal Hotel, Manchester
  • Innovative Learning: Driving Educational Change

    • 08 December 2015
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Teaching Excellence Framework: Raising Quality Standards

    • 14 July 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:00
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Research Impact: Delivering Excellence

    • 05 July 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:15
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Teaching Excellence Framework: Quality, Accessibility and Student Choice

    • 11 July 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Technology in Learning: Reshaping the Educational Landscape

    • 04 July 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Studio, Manchester
  • Housing and Health: Working in Partnership

    • 10 May 2017
    • 08:30 - 15:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • The Future of Higher Education: Beyond Brexit

    • 24 January 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Teaching Excellence Framework: Year Three

    • 28 June 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:00
    • The Studio, Manchester
  • Bridging the Skills Gap: Apprenticeship Levy

    • 30 October 2018
    • 08:30 - 15:00
    • The Studio, Manchester
  • Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes

    • 16 May 2019
    • 10:00 - 16:05
    • Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London
  • Safeguarding Students: Addressing Mental Health Needs

    • 26 November 2019
    • 08:30 - 16:25
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.

who will attend

·         Asset Managers

·         Central Government

·         Chief Information Officers

·         Councillors

·         Development Managers

·         Directors/Heads of Enterprise and Innovation

·         Directors/Heads of Technology

·         E-government Leads

·         Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers

·         Heads of Economic Development

·         Heads of Growth and Regeneration

·         Heads of Innovation

·         Heads of Inward Investment

·         Heads of Planning

·         Heads of Policy

·         Heads of Research and Innovation

·         Heads of Sustainability

·         Heads of Transport

·         Health and Social Care

·         Higher Education

·         Investors

·         LEPs

·         Local Authority Officials

·         Local Businesses

·         Local Enterprise Partnerships

·         Managing Directors

·         Project and Programme Managers

·         Project Director/Programme/Portfolio Managers

·         Senior Managers

·         Strategic Directors