Press release

MillionPlus launches the Think Modern campaign

14 May 2019

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, is today (14 May) launching its #ThinkModern campaign with an event at the Palace of Westminster. The campaign highlights the wide-ranging and growing contribution to the UK made by modern universities and their students and graduates. Today’s event will be held in the State Rooms at Speaker’s House, kindly hosted by the Speaker, The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, giving parliamentarians the chance to meet with modern university students and staff.

Modern universities represent more than half of the UK’s higher education sector, educating over a million students a year, delivering world-class teaching and research, transforming lives through opening up access to university and to graduate careers, and by delivering a highly skilled workforce for employers of many kinds.

These universities are critical in meeting the challenges posed in a rapidly changing world. They have a huge impact across the UK, doing much of the hard work in developing key skills for the future employment market.

Therefore, if government wants:

  • to boost productivity, innovation and technological advances in industry to meet tomorrow’s challenges
  • to improve recruitment, retention and impact of the public service workforce in our NHS, schools, police forces and local communities
  • to increase the aspiration and opportunities for people from all walks of life by ensuring flexible pathways into higher education, supporting them on their learning journey

…they need to #ThinkModern.

The campaign explores the work of these universities, focusing on six theme areas – Making Britain Work; Pathways, Partnerships and Productivity; Creative and Technological Skills for the 21st Century; Innovation and Research; Aspiration, Opportunity and Inclusion; and Entrepreneurial, Enterprising, Enriching.

Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, said:

“Modern times call for modern solutions and the UK can meet the challenges it faces by harnessing the contribution of its modern universities. These institutions are key anchors in their communities and vital players in the economy - locally, nationally and internationally. It’s time to embrace what they offer and unlock the potential of their staff and students.

“Modern universities are focused on addressing the key issues that we face as a nation and are educational powerhouses through the work they do in exchanging knowledge and innovation with industry and by skilling workers for employment, many in our public services. 

“Britain works - from town planners to architects, scientists to radiographers and researchers, breast screening nurses to physiotherapists, artists to entrepreneurs, software engineers to video-game designers – because of the graduate workforce that modern universities deliver. Currently, for example, more than 60% of Initial Teacher Education students and more than 70% of nursing students study at a modern university.”

Follow the campaign on the MillionPlus website and on Twitter, using the hashtag #ThinkModern


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. Follow the campaign on the MillionPlus website here
  3. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  4. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  5. Modern universities: key facts 2018

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