30 Jan 2017

Registration is open for the sparqs Conference! #sparqs17

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the sparqs Conference! 

The conference is taking place on Thursday 23rd March 2017, at Surgeons' Hall in Edinburgh, aimed at students, managers and practitioners in colleges, universities and other post-16 providers, from within Scotland and beyond.  We invite you to join us to explore the impact of the student voice on the enhancement of the student learning experience and institutional decision-making.

Please read all of the information on the event page before booking.

Conference Speakers

We are delighted that the conference will be opened by Ms Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.  The day will be a blend of keynote sessions covering the key themes in student engagement, as well as a range of workshops, presentations and displays.  The keynote speakers include:   

  • Adam Gajek - European Students’ Union (ESU) Executive Committee member and member of the ESU Quality Assurance Student Experts' Pool.
  • Rebecca MacLennan - Programme Manager - Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland, Scottish Council for Development and Industry.  Rebecca is a former sparqs Associate Trainer.
  • Stewart Hay - former deputy head at Anderson High School in Lerwick, Shetland, and founder of The Global Classroom, an international partnership that allows staff and students at secondary schools across the world to share experiences on learning and teaching.
  • Vonnie Sandlan - President, NUS Scotland.

You can read the speakers' biographies for details about their background and experience. 


You can view the conference programme for details of the day.

Choose your sessions before booking!

Choose which sessions you would like to attend at the conference by reading the Workshop and Presentation Outlines document - you will be asked to choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences for each session when registering.

Additional opportunities for delegates from outwith Scotland

Delegates attending from outwith the UK have the opportunity to attend an additional International Delegates’ Day on Wednesday 22nd March, the day before the main conference. The day will provide an opportunity to learn about the Scottish context of student engagement, including a visit to the University of Stirling, with some sightseeing and Scottish hospitality along the way!

In addition to the international delegates day, we are arranging some optional site visits to universities and a sector agency, with the kind help of our University Advisory Group colleagues.  There are a range of visits available, spanning the week of the conference, for people to sign up directly with the institution/agency as they wish (delegates will also need to arrange their own travel). The visits will allow people to hear more about our student engagement and quality processes, whilst enabling visitors to see a bit more of Scotland!  Click here to view details of the visits available - please sign up by Friday 10th March 2017!

Conference fees

Conference fees are detailed on the event page along with payment options.  Please note that there is a registration fee for Scottish delegates (with the exception of students) this time around to cover some of the costs, although this is still a subsidised rate.

NB: early bird rates have now expired.

How to register

To register to attend the conference, click here!

Please note that the closing date for registrations is Friday 10th March 2017.

Student Engagement Awards

In a fitting end to the day, the conference will be rounded off with the second sparqs Student Engagement Awards! We invited students' associations and institutions within Scotland to submit nominations across a range of six categories. See the Awards webpage for all the details. Nominations are now closed, the deadline for submissions was Monday 20th February 2017.

Practical Information

For visitors to Edinburgh, we have prepared some useful information about the city, including maps, travel and accommodation options and tourism information. 

The conference will begin at 9.45am (with registration open from 9.00am) and will close around 4.35pm. Following a short break, during which we will begin serving drinks and canapés, the Awards reception will take place, due to finish around 6.30pm.

If you have any queries regarding the conference or the registration process, please email admin@sparqs.ac.uk or contact the office on 0131 622 6599.

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