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University leaders commit to pension talks as strikes begin

University leaders have written to the University and College Union to formally outline their commitment to continuing to work with UCU to deliver long-term reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. The move comes as UCU members at 60 universities begin strike action in disputes over both pensions and pay.

Gateway to university expertise now provides 'smart match' with business

A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.

Survey pinpoints ways to make postgraduates even more satisfied

Eight out of 10 postgraduate students taking a taught course in the UK report continued satisfaction with the experience over a five-year period.But a survey of more than 70,000 postgraduates across 85 higher education institutions who responded to the Advance HE Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) highlights for the first time areas where institutions could do better still to boost satisfaction levels.

Government should listen to employers on graduate employment

The next government should adopt policies on graduate employment that reflect a less simplistic outlook than the current regime, argues Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers, which has just published its manifesto wish list.

HESA releases details on the future of student data

The Higher Education Statistics Agency has published the specification of student data to be returned by higher education providers from the 2019/20 academic year. The release represents the biggest change to the way student data is collected since the Cheltenham agency’s first data collection in 1994.

The Data Futures programme, launched with a wide-ranging consultation in 2015, is intended to update the way that HE providers and data collectors work with data. The new specification includes the key concepts and glossary of terms that will re-define how the higher education sector talks about student data.

The specification also sets out the details of what, when, and how data will have to be submitted to HESA, giving submitters and users of HESA data a chance to assess the impact of the changes. It combines three previous HESA data returns into one, and will support in-year data collection rather than collecting all data at the end of the academic year. 

Fourteen universities, colleges and alternative providers have volunteered to take part in an Alpha pilot test of the HESA Data Platform, starting in April 2018. To ease the impact of changes on HE providers HESA are planning a phased transition to the new system with more details to be announced on 2 November.

Rob Phillpotts, Programme Director of Data Futures said: “The Data Futures programme marks a major change in the way providers and collectors work with data. I’m delighted to announce the launch of version 1.0.0 of the HESA Student Record coding manual for 2019/20 academic year.

“We appreciate the magnitude of the task ahead and all the hard work to date in shaping and challenging the design of the new data specification. We have been consulting across the sector to develop our blue-print for in-year data collection and we’re grateful for the significant engagement of HE providers and data users. 

“I look forward to working further with HE providers on the next steps of the Data Futures programme as we continue to develop the HESA Data Platform.”

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