2019 Agenda: Impacting lives

In an age where environmental and social responsibility is more important than ever, organisations involved in the development, funding and management of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) must consider how their activities impact students, institutions, communities and the wider world. Across the industry there are startling examples of progress and innovation; from carbon net-zero developments to radical energy reduction technologies, and from intergenerational pilots to wellbeing centric design.

The 2019 Student Accommodation Conference, Exhibition and Awards will showcase the best, and challenge you to find new ways to deliver sustainable, socially positive projects. Everything from the performance of PBSA as an asset class to how it’s positioned to respond to the UK’s changing educational landscape will be discussed.

Registration and networking
Welcome from the chair
Interim Director, Hospitality and Accommodation Services
University of Birmingham
Opening Keynote: New world new market. How a new political climate will shape the PBSA future

We have a new Prime Minister in power that seems bent on ending austerity and taking the brakes off public spending. But, economic decline, even recession, threaten his ability to spend. David Lammy, Minister for Education under the last Labour Government, gives us an up-to-the-minute assessment of the UK’s economy and how evolving education policy is likely to impact demand for student accommodation. Will the appetite for new PBSA development accelerate or stagnate?

(Former Minister for Higher Education and Skills)
Panel: Ready or not? Responding to changes in higher education

The Augar Report’s implementation hangs in the balance, but its findings are likely to influence the future of higher education in the UK regardless. Its calls include dramatic changes to fees and funding structures and an enhanced role for higher education colleges and apprenticeships. Our experts will answer your questions about whether and how Augar’s recommendations will be actioned, what might come in its place, and how the requirements for PBSA development might evolve.

Chief Executive Officer
CRM Students
Group Corporate Affairs Director
UPP Projects
In conversation: Town vs gown. Are PBSA developments a blight or a blessing for town and city centres?

Many councils are sceptical about the impact of large student bodies on town and city centres, often leading them to take a negative view of PBSA proposals and developments. Others look to them to encourage urban regeneration, social cohesion and a boost for local economies. We look at both sides of the argument and consider how the industry can create and communicate positive scenarios.


Philip Bialyk, Labour Leader, Exeter City Council

Morning break, networking and exhibition

Visit our Student Accommodation partners and exhibitors to find the latest products and services and make new connections. View more >

Concurrent sessions

Research presentation: Going global – international opportunities for PBSA investors

In the face of a rapidly maturing UK market, PBSA investors are looking beyond borders for fresh opportunities. We’ll investigate the expansion of higher education provision worldwide and forecast which international markets are likely to offer the most positive capital flows and the strongest investment returns.

Samuel Vetrak, Chief Executive Officer, Bonard

Panel: Competing assets

How are broader trends in property affecting student accommodation and how is the growth of other residential sectors changing investment considerations? 


Stephen Rigby, Real Estate Director, Student Roost (confirmed)
Erin Clarke, Portfolio Manager, Investec Structured Property Finance

Presentation: Sustainable capital

Investors are increasingly required to measure ESG factors across their portfolios, while also increasingly desire to invest into assets that deliver a measurable positive social or environmental impact. How ready are operators to measure their impacts, and what new capital flows could become available?

Presentation: Raising your sights. Sources of inspiration outside the student sector

Across the property sector – from retail to leisure, workspace to residential – the cross fertilisation of ideas is giving rise to innovation. We look at positive change across the board that may have valuable messages for PBSA, and at the development technologies that may help us to fast track new scenarios.

Presentation: Sustainable operations: improving performance and demonstrating success

The need to reduce carbon output is both mandated by Government and demanded by citizens – as evidenced by recent Extinction Rebellion demonstrations. Beyond the build, what new technologies, processes and retro-fitting opportunities exist to improve sustainability in PBSA, and how do we evidence success to regulators and occupants?

Glide Student
Panel: Student wellbeing – shouldering our responsibilities

Student wellbeing is a vital prerequisite for academic success. At a time when students seem to feel the pressure more intensely than ever, moves are afoot to introduce regulation that will force PBSA operators to take a share of the responsibility. As details emerge, we’ll look at where operators’ responsibilities begin and end, what can realistically be delivered and how we can connect with central University Services to create an integrated student experience.

Head of External Relations and Student Wellbeing
Case study: ResiLife: community building

We’ve seen so many attempts fail – whereas others just work. Why? In this presentation we explore how one PBSA provider’s initial attempts failed, what was learnt and applied to affect subsequent success, while looking at the data on the positive effects to the provider.

Lunch, networking and exhibition

Visit our Student Accommodation partners and exhibitors to find the latest products and services and make new connections. View more >

Head-to-head: Co-living: threat or opportunity?

More and more co-living schemes are springing up in London and the regions. Will they take business away from existing student housing developments? Or is the rise of co-living an opportunity that PBSA developers should embrace? What’s the potential for converting struggling PBSA schemes into co-living developments?

Executive Director, Student Accommodation, Valuation & Advisory Services
Panel: Affordable PBSA, Responding to clear demand

In recent years PBSA has trended towards the provision of ever more luxurious ‘high-end’ accommodation. Yet, with tighter budgets and likely changes in student fee structures, educational establishments are crying out for affordable alternatives. What tools do we have at hand to respond to this demand, and how open are we to low-cost innovation?

Group Managing Director
Kexgill Group
Managing Director
UPP Projects
Ted-style talk: Going global - Designing and delivering in nascent markets

As the UK PBSA market matures, student numbers are rising across continental Europe, Asia and beyond, tempting developers to look beyond borders for fresh opportunities. We’ll consider which regions and countries offer the best opportunities.

Brian Welsh, Chief Executive Officer, NIDO Student 

Collegiate Group
Presentation: Contributing to the capital – responding to London’s development policies

While the London Plan sets out to shape the future of London’s built environment, policy H17 has much to say about how PBSA must contribute social cohesion. Focusing on best and worst case studies, we’ll consider how PBSA developers have interpreted and responded to new directions in policy.

Presentation: Designing for international students

International students coming to UK institutions often experience a cultural dislocation that can inhibit their academic progress. How can we work with universities to help international students succeed by creating accommodation that helps them feel at home? We’ll look at innovative developments that create familiarity and reassurance for visitors to our shores.

Case study: Modular living. How’s it coming together?

Modular construction is increasingly common, as evidenced by a recent spate of joint ventures and increased production capability UK-wide. We investigate just how big a trend this could become, the requirements for success, the barriers to growth and how they can be overcome. In short, is the future of PBSA modular?

Case study: Concept challenge
Panel: Intergenerational living

Age UK has estimated that 3.6 million people in the UK live alone, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that social isolation leads to poor health and life quality. Around the world, innovative PBSA developments are combining student accommodation with retirement living, contributing to social cohesion and changing the economic model for students. Through a series of case studies we’ll look at how such schemes work and the evidence for their success.

Afternoon break, networking and exhibition

Visit our Student Accommodation partners and exhibitors to find the latest products and services and make new connections. View more >

The Student Voice session
Managing Director
Red Brick Research
Closing keynote presentation: Reducing inequality in UK Universities

Lord Willetts, Chairman of the Resolution Foundation, former Minister of State for Universities and Science, discusses the future of university education and learning and the make-up of the student body. Can social mobility really be achieved through successfully widening participation at universities? How would changes to the make-up of the student body impact on demand for accommodation? How will the role of student accommodation in supporting students and enhancing learning evolve?

Chairman of the Resolution Foundation and former Minister of State for Universities and Science
Chair's closing remarks and conference ends
Interim Director, Hospitality and Accommodation Services
University of Birmingham
Networking drinks
Awards dinner (Awards ticket holders only)
Awards presentation (Awards ticketholders only)

Please note: Information correct at time of publishing. Programme and speakers subject to change.