Events > Conference



This week (24 April 2020) we have had to take the inevitable decision not just to postpone the 2020 UHR Conference but to cancel it. With no meaningful way to be sure of how the current health emergency will progress, and therefore whether it is or isn't viable to re-schedule it for later in the year, we have been in touch this week with all delegates, sponsors and exhibitors to share news of the cancellation decision. Please refer to the emails we have sent to all involved for next options.

Of course we regret this very much, and hope that we can in due time start to plan for a renewed and reinvigorated 2021 UHR Conference instead. We have taken the decision to re-book the same venue - Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire and we look forward to welcoming the usual mix of university delegates, sponsors and exhibitors and inspiring speakers to be with us next May. We'll share more on all of our plans just as soon as we can.

For those of you looking forward to the UHR Awards, we still plan to run this year's award though in a slightly different format. We'll be sharing information as soon as we can.

This Covid-19 challenge will have an unprecedented impact on universities and the HE sector, with HR staff bearing a particularly heavy load, while being pivotal in ensuring HEIs and their staff are able to respond well. We know HR teams will be pulling together tightly to support each other through this, supported by external organisations and partners with whom strong working relationships have been built over a long time, and my colleagues in UHR and the Executive join me in offering our thoughts and support in the period ahead.

Please make the most of the UHR discussion boards and other digital resources, and the member directory to get in contact with others who might face similar challenges to yours; and do get in touch by email ( if there is anything UHR can do practically to help. If you have any questions specifically relating to the Conference, please contact the Assured Events team via

We thank you for your continued understanding, patience and support in what is an unprecedented time.


UHR Annual Conference 2020

19-21 May 2020

Thriving. A 2020 Vision 

Enduring? Surviving? Or flourishing? Thriving?

UHR doesn’t need to list the nature and scale of the challenges we face at our universities. Our members know them well – from pay and pensions, to Brexit and global competition for staff and students, to the need for us to play our role in combating the rising incidence of poor mental health. But at our 2020 conference we’ll be thinking of the waves of opportunity each challenge brings and reminding ourselves of the power of good HR practice to set our institutions on a positive course where individuals, teams and our universities can thrive.

From recruitment, to engagement, along every step of an employee’s journey via every policy and procedure that forms part of the HR remit, let’s remember our role to shape and steer that positive course. As professional people let’s be confident about the skills and dynamism we possess as we take on complex and sensitive issues. For every challenge there’s an opportunity: sometimes it’s a matter of perspective.

 UHR’s 2020 Conference is taking a conscious step away from the big city venues of recent years. Let’s look at things differently in a different kind of environment. We hope you’ll join us in rural Bedfordshire for three days in which you can reflect, renew your focus, and refresh your mind for the year ahead.

We know we have to keep the challenges in our line of sight, but through inspiring plenary and workshop sessions we’ll be exploring ways of achieving fresh perspectives to generate solutions and new approaches. UHR Conference will help you establish your own 2020 Vision. You’ll gain new insights and views from experts; challenge and support your fellow delegates to find  answers; and identify ways that HEIs, HR departments and individuals can not only survive, but thrive against a background of uncertainty, pressure and challenge. 

As HR teams we have critical insights to offer to our universities. The Conference provides a timely reminder to be positive about our role in shaping better working environments, cultures and practices in higher education. Let’s re-energise, refocus, and deliver.






UHR Annual Conference 2019


21 and 24 May 2019

The 2019 UHR Conference and Exhibition took place in Manchester - a great city whether you think of that greatness in terms of its sporting heritage, its amazing music and cultural impact, or its industry. The bee has long been known as a symbol of the city and was first incorporated into the Manchester city coat of arms in 1842. The industrious teamwork of the bee hive – well we know all about the work ethic in HR teams, and we were proud to adopt the bee as a symbol of UHR2019. Speakers at UHR2019 included Dame Nancy Rothwell (VC at the University of Manchester) and Joanne Roney (CEO of Manchester City Council) as we examined the theme “Transforming Culture: Challenging Times”.

To watch the highlights video, find details of the programme, and conference takeaway materials visit the conference page.


Previous UHR Annual Conferences

2018 - To find out about the conference in Bristol, click here.

2017 - To find out about the conference in Newcastle, click here.

2016 - To find out about the conference in Brighton, click here.

2015 - To find out about the conference in Leeds, click here.

2014 - To find out about the conference in Warwick, click here.

2013 - To find out about the conference at York, click here.



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