An exciting new collaboration with the University of South Wales

Virtual Experience Programme – new project launch

I’m delighted to be launching a new project with the University of South Wales (USW), involving a series of applied work experience exercises through the university’s Virtual Experience Programme (VEP). This pioneering initiative allows businesses to share applied case studies and set challenges for analysis and discussion with students via an online platform.

USW Treforest Campus (image source:

My VEP project involves development of a business case for a (fictional) local regeneration project. It reflects the typical methods used by authorities to assess proposals, evaluate economic benefits and determine Value for Money.

Michael Saleh, USW Senior Work Placement Partner, has said:

“The Tim Ashwin Consulting Virtual Experience Programme will benefit our students by providing a real insight into the world of economics while enabling them to solve real challenges by utilising their academic and transferrable skills. VEPs such as this are a fantastic way of developing student confidence, which can broaden horizons.”

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It’s great to be starting this working relationship with USW. Working with students and academics will be a useful way of gaining fresh insights, ideas and challenges. This type of interaction helps improve the quality and depth of analysis.

Benefits of academic – business partnerships

It is evident that strong academic – business partnerships bring significant economic benefits. The Centre for Cities has identified that “for many UK cities, their greatest concentration of knowledge and innovation is their universities, so national and local decision makers are increasingly looking to support collaborations between universities and high-growth firms.”

USW Cardiff Campus (image source:

Our universities are also a key contributor to the UK’s global standing. The NCUB’s State of the Relationship 2022 report highlighted that 84% of research produced by UK universities is judged world-leading or internationally excellent.

The UK government has rightly prioritised research and innovation as a key driver for economic recovery and growth, with a commitment was made in the recent Autumn Statement to increase government spending on R&D by around a third to £20bn by 2024/25. I am sure that, in spite of current economic challenges, they will continue to grow and thrive, which benefits all of us.

Published by Tim Ashwin

I am an independent consultant specialising in business cases, economic appraisals, feasibility & market studies, due diligence reviews and regulatory analysis for transport and infrastructure projects.

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