University Events

Past Debates

Past Debates

In the archive you can find recordings of past debates which you can stream and listen to again.

The North East Devolution Deal: Skills and Employment

Wednesday 18 October 2023

The North East devolution deal, agreed in December 2022, marks a new devolution agreement between the government and the local authorities of Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham. It is expected that an election to appoint a new mayor will take place in May 2024, at which point the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority will come into effect.

The value of the North East devolution deal is being put at £4.2bn and is said to be the most generous per head in England. The deal transfers new powers investment over 30 years, which will enable a new Mayoral Combined Authority to plan for the long term and unlock the benefits of devolution for 2 million people living in our region.

In this special debate, hosted by Newcastle University, key representatives from across our region will discuss how the new deal could impact skills and employment in the North East. How can we ensure we have the right skills to meet the needs of the future economy? How can those opportunities be open to all and can regional devolution address the employment challenges facing our diverse urban, rural and coastal communities?

Panellists include Professor René Koglbauer, Dean of Lifelong Learning and Professional Practice, Newcastle University; Liz Bromley, Chief Executive Officer Newcastle College Group; John McCabe, Chief Executive, North East Chamber of Commerce and Dr Henry Kippin, Chief Executive, North of Tyne Combined Authority; Interim Chief Executive, North East Mayoral Combined Authority; Visiting Professor of Practice at Newcastle University. The panel is chaired by Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and Place, Newcastle University.

The Future of the NHS

Monday 5 June 2023

The NHS reaches its 75th birthday this year, but is now the time to celebrate when recent events have revealed a system and its staff at breaking point?

The public still show support for a National Health Service, with 94% of people agreeing that healthcare should be free of charge and 84% that care should be available to everyone, but at the same time satisfaction with individual NHS services has fallen to the lowest levels recorded since the British Social Attitudes survey began in 1983.

How can we balance increasing costs with delivering a quality service? And what can we do to better support NHS staff?

Join us at the Frederick Douglass Centre to mark this special anniversary, as key regional and national figures discuss the future of the NHS and if it can survive for another 75 years.

Panellists include Professor Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health, Newcastle University; Dr Guy Pilkington, GP and Chair of the Prevention Board for the North East and North Cumbria ICS; Dr Benjamin Ajibade, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Midwifery & Health, Northumbria University and James Duncan, Chief Executive, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW). The panel is chaired by Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and Place, Newcastle University.

The future of transport in the North East

Monday 27 March 2023

The government recently announced that the North East is to receive £563M in funding for transport infrastructure in a new £1.4bn devolution deal for the region. Will this deal mean the end of long standing issues with rail services in the region and deliver much-needed improvements to our ageing public transport infrastructure? And could a new directly elected mayor for the North East help address vehicle emissions and encourage investment in more sustainable travel? Join us at The Catalyst, Newcastle Helix as key regional and national figures discuss the future of transport in the North East and beyond.

Panellists include Phil Blythe CBE, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems, Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering and former Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport; Councillor Jane Byrne, Cabinet Member for a Connected and Clean City and Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director, Transport North East. The panel is chaired by Jane Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Engagement and Place, Newcastle University.

How will the North East respond to the cost of living crisis?

Wednesday 2 November 2022

The UK has experienced strong inflation and rising interest rates since late 2021, triggered by the COVID-19 recovery and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government has announced measures to respond to rising energy, food and fuel prices but are they enough? What can be done to combat the crisis and how can we protect the most vulnerable in our community?

Join us at The Catalyst, Newcastle Helix as key regional and national figures discuss what impact the cost of living will have on the North East and beyond.

Panellists include: Helen Goulden, Chief Executive Officer, The Young Foundation; Mack Marshall, Education Officer, Newcastle University Students' Union; Mark Shucksmith OBE, Professor of Planning and a CRE Associate; Sara Bryson, Community Organiser, Tyne & Wear Citizens, Citizens UK. The panel is chaired by Alison Shaw, Professor of Practice for Inclusive Learning at Newcastle University.

How will the North East confront the climate crisis?

Tuesday 5 October 2021

In the run-up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow this November, we are delighted to present the third event in the Newcastle Debates series, How will the North East confront the climate Crisis?

Our panel of experts will discuss the big questions we face while trying to recover from the pandemic at the same time as reach net zero status by 2030.

The event will take the form of a panel discussion, with questions submitted by the audience, focussing on the role that the North East can play in limiting carbon emissions and what we as individuals and organisations can do to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Panellists include: Professor Hayley Fowler, Co-chair of the Net Zero Task Force and Professor of Climate Change Impacts, Newcastle University; Councillor Clare Penny-Evans, Cabinet member for Climate Change and Public Safety, Newcastle City Council; Peter Rolton, UK CEO, Britishvolt and Elizabeth Meade, Ethics and Environment Rep, Newcastle University Students' Union.

Economic Recovery: How do we revitalise our region post Covid-19?

Tuesday 25 May 2021

The North East is no stranger to economic regeneration, but after more than a year of restrictions and financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic our cultural, retail and hospitality sectors are suffering. Our panel of experts will reflect on the challenges faced by local businesses, the future of our city centres and how we can recover and rebuild for a better future.

Panellists include: Lucy Winskell OBE, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Pro Vice Chancellor (Employability and Partnerships), Northumbria University; Atul Malhotra, Operations Director, Malhotra Group PLC; Abigail Pogson, Managing Director, Sage Gateshead and Co-Chair, NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues and Sarah Green, Chief Executive, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

Creating a Better Normal – How can we build a healthier future post-pandemic?

Monday 1 February 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health inequalities in our community, and although the North East has some of the best health services in the UK, this isn’t reflected in the health of our population. Our panel of experts will discuss why this might be the case, the challenges for healthcare provision pre- and post-Covid19 and how we can work together to create a future in which we live longer, healthier lives.

Panellists include: Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University; Dame Jackie Daniel, CEO, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Pat Ritchie CBE, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council; Carol Botten CEO, VONNE (Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East).