Swansea University has been at the cutting edge of research and innovation since 1920. We have a long history of working with business and industry but today our world class research has a much wider impact across the health, wealth, culture, and well-being of our society.
We have achieved an extraordinary level of success in recent years and our research activity exceeds that of many larger universities yet this has not compromised the friendly and relaxed atmosphere that has always characterised the “Swansea experience”. As we approach our centenary we look forward to a bright future.
The University's foundation stone was laid by King George V on 19 July 1920 and 89 students (including eight female students) enrolled that same year. By September 1939, there were 65 staff and 485 students.
In 1947 there were just two permanent buildings on campus: Singleton Abbey and the library. The Principal, J S Fulton, recognised the need to expand the estate and had a vision of a self-contained community, with residential, social and academic facilities on a single site. His vision was to become the first university campus in the UK.
By 1960 a large-scale development programme was underway that would see the construction of new halls of residence, the Maths and Science Tower, and College House (later renamed Fulton House). The 1960s also saw the development of the "finite element method" by Professor Olek Zienkiewicz. His technique revolutionised the design and engineering of manufactured products, and Swansea was starting to stake its claim as an institution that demanded to be taken seriously.
Work began on the student village at Hendrefoelan in 1971, the South Wales Miners' Library was established in 1973 and the Taliesin Arts Centre opened on campus in 1984. The Regional Schools of Nursing transferred to Swansea in 1992, and the College of Medicine opened in 2001. Technium Digital was completed in 2005 and, barely two years later, the University opened its Institute of Life Science, which commercialises the results of research undertaken in the Swansea University Medical School. Work commenced on a second Institute of Life Science in 2009.
In 2012 we began an ambitious campus expansion and development project, including the opening of our Bay Campus in 2015; which is home to the College of Engineering and the School of Management. In 2018 we opened the doors to two further projects, The College; Swansea University's joint venture with Navitas (The International College Wales Swansea, ICWS) and the Computational Foundry; the home of the College of Science's departments of Computer Science and Mathematics.
Vision and ambition
A beacon for pioneering collaborations
In the Research Excellence Framework of 2014, Swansea University achieved its ambition to become a UK top 30 research institution.
Our REF ranking of 26th was the “biggest leap among research-intensive institutions”, according to Times Higher Education. Now, as the university nears its centenary year in 2020, we have new goals. They are to:
Become a UK top 30-ranked university by 2018
Continue our ambitious expansion plans
Extend our global reach; and
Move closer to becoming one of the world’s top 200 universities.
In REF 2014* the quality of Swansea’s research was put on a par with or out-performed six Group universities.
We were also ranked 22nd for the impact of that research.
To achieve this we had doubled our world-leading academic resthis,hers over the previous six years, something that has proved central to the stimulating and enriching teaching and student experience provided at Swansea. But it does not stop there.
Research and teaching capacity doubled when the science and innovation Bay Campus opened in 2015. And in 2018 the £31 million Computational Foundry opens there, housing more than 150 computer science researchers.
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones has described the Foundry "as a beacon for pioneering collaborations with researchers and industry, attracting further research funding and establishing Wales as a world-leading centre for computer science and innovation”.
Swansea University was founded by industry in 1920 to deliver for industry so we have long been known for our Science and Engineering research but now we are among UK leaders for Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. We lead Wales in research areas critical to economic growth and population well-being including Environmental Sciences, Medicine and Social Work.
In recognition of the university’s importance to the Swansea Bay City Region, we and Swansea Council have pledged to work more closely to create more jobs, improve education and promote a culture of enterprise and innovation.