Working with Universities event at Fairfield House

Posted on February 7, 2024

Fairfield House hosted 24 distinguished University guests, including Bath Spa’s Professor Andy Salmon, on 10th January for a workshop, panel sessions, tours of the house and supper. The panel sessions were chaired by Dr Tigist Grieve, and Sarah Galvin facilitated. 

This work builds on Fairfield House’s greatly valued and mutually beneficial long-term agreement with Bath Spa University, and follows the recent publication of Fairfield House’s new policy on partnerships and collaboration.

Fairfield House reported:

‘Working with delegates from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, West of England and Oxford we established a clear understanding of the various dimensions of unique significance of Fairfield House. Our friends in these Universities understand clearly this needs to be a relationship of equals and of mutual benefit. There are a series of specific deliverables Universities need in terms of the criteria for strong research bids and the need to deliver a great student experience. But budgets are pared down to the bone. Fairfield House understands there is next to no scope for discretionary spend by Universities, and that achieving more partnerships such as we enjoy with Bath Spa University will not be easy. Some Universities are physically more distant, some much larger and more complex with opaque decision-making processes, and some have specific policies against memoranda of understanding or formal partnership agreements.

We agreed that Fairfield House will have to be more imaginative and flexible, offering Universities a range of easily procured goods and services of value. Fairfield House needs to make it clear that some things it’s easy for Universities to offer, such as unfunded student placements or the opportunity to be part of a specific research bid do not work for an unfunded not-for-profit startup: they just create risk and opportunity cost.

“Our first University partnership was the cornerstone of getting the CIC social enterprise under way” said Fairfield House co-chair William Heath. “Developing our work with Universities in the right way is of prime importance for Fairfield House.”’