The University of Liverpool wants to break into the world’s top 100. But are its staff on board?
‘Everyone knows at least two or three colleagues that are either off with ill health or should be off with their health.’
Dear readers — the University of Liverpool is a great institution in the city and one with a national reputation, having brought home a hatful of Nobel Prizes and made critical breakthroughs in science and medicine. But what about a global reputation? That’s what they really want, having just set a goal of becoming “a global top 100 university” by 2031.
But what’s life like inside the university? One staff member tells us it is “too preoccupied with vanity” and others complain about an environment that doesn’t support research staff and loads them up with too much admin. As one PhD student told The Post: “I used to be proud to say I studied and worked at the university, now it makes me cringe.”
In today’s piece, Abi digs into the tensions inside the University of Liverpool, and exactly what their new 2031 strategy plans to do about it all. But first, your Post briefing — including the resignation of Wavertree MP Paula Barker and a boost for Liverpool’s Eurovision legacy.
Your Post briefing
Wavertree MP Paula Barker has resigned from her shadow cabinet post after a ceasefire vote over Israel led to a mass rebellion within the Labour Party. Several other local MPs including Ian Byrne and Margaret Greenwood also voted in favour of an amendment to the King’s Speech laid down by the SNP calling for a ceasefire. Posting on X, Barker said she had been “overwhelmed” with correspondence from local residents over the issue, and had decided to follow her conscience and break the party whip. In her post on X, Barker played down Labour divisions over the issues (we reported on tensions over the situation locally this week) speaking of a common aim within the party for peace in the Middle East.
Senior council leaders have called for government support after a recent local authority report revealed spending on the city’s homeless will reach £19m this year — £3m over budget. In a letter to cabinet minister Michael Gove, council leader Liam Robinson said the £1.7m homelessness support grant received from the government “does not in any way reflect the need and growing demand in Liverpool”, with over 500 families currently in bed and breakfast accommodation. A Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said the council was being provided with £3.9m from a homelessness prevention fund in order to plug the gap.
Liverpool’s Eurovision legacy has been given a new long-lasting boost after it was announced a slogan created by the BBC for this year’s event would be used again in the future. Normally, new slogans come fresh with every contest, but the ‘United by Music’ tag created for this year’s event has captured the enthusiasm of organisers, who plan to make it a permanent slogan for future events.
Going global — but at what price? Inside the University of Liverpool
By Abi Whistance
Last month, the University of Liverpool announced a lofty goal — to break into the world’s top 100 universities. A grand strategic plan — titled Liverpool 2031 — plotted a path into the global elite, which will be achieved by prioritising “world-class research and teaching”.
The plan explains the university’s values (the usual stuff: inclusive, ambitious, innovative etcetera) and commits to “creating the optimal conditions for individual researchers and teams to succeed”. The ambition to become “a global top 100 university” is mentioned five times throughout the document.
Announcing the plan, the university’s vice chancellor Tim Jones projected great optimism. “We will, more than ever, make ground-breaking discoveries that shape the future, empower individuals to become changemakers, and inspire students to fulfil their academic and personal ambitions,” he said.
And yet, quite soon after the announcement, The Post started picking up murmurings from within the university that were much less optimistic. Staff got in touch with us to say that their employer was talking a very good game in public, but that the Liverpool 2031 document masked tension and strife behind the scenes. “I used to be proud to say I studied and worked at the university,” one member of staff told us. “Now it makes me cringe.”