University Performance

Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons am ar 22 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Whether he has had discussions with the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy on improving the performance of Northern Irish universities as measured by the impact rankings.

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

Northern Ireland has outstanding universities and a high share of its population is educated to degree level. My ministerial colleagues and I have the pleasure of regularly engaging with Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, and we are proud to promote these institutions in the rest of the UK and internationally. I have glanced at the rankings to which the hon. Gentleman refers, and I am looking forward to hearing his further question.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Is the Minister aware that when I was speaking on the deck of the Titanic centre only two weeks ago, I was thinking about him and the Conservative Government? Is he also aware that I was speaking to universities and local businesses that are deeply worried about the inability of universities and businesses to get answers from the Government to enable them to meet the targets of the very important impact assessment from the United Nations?

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

As keen as I am to keep abreast of the hon. Gentleman’s thoughts, I was not aware of his particular insights on that occasion. Of course, we continue to work with the universities and the Northern Ireland civil service, and I am keen to work with him on the success of those universities. What we need above all, of course, is for an Executive to return so that we can work through some of the issues before us.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Ceidwadwyr, Chipping Barnet

Staff and students at Queen’s University Belfast are doing some incredibly impressive work on cyber-security. What can Ministers do to ensure that that expertise is deployed to make us a more cyber-resilient nation?

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

I am most grateful to my right hon. Friend. I had the pleasure of visiting the national Centre for Secure Information Technologies, and I had a particularly interesting time testing some of its systems—I do not think I should comment any further on that particular experience. We are always keen to promote its work, and I am grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to say on the record that it does a fantastic job. Together with the National Cyber Security Centre, I am sure it will continue to promote cyber-security in the UK and, indeed, abroad.