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UKRI invests £200m in 12 research hubs to tackle global challenges

UK Research and Innovation has announced a "pioneering and ambitious new approach" to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through a £200 million investment across 12 global research Hubs.

Weekly HE news review: Storm clouds gathering?

With Brexit inevitably dominating the headlines this week, Rhiannon Birch, Director of Planning and Insight at the University of Sheffield, looks at what else was also making news in higher education.

HEi-think: Keeping the plates spinning in HE -- who'd be a Registrar?

As higher education changes to meet a growing number of challenges, so the role of registrar has evolved and become more complex, observes Graham Cooper, Head of Education at Capita Education Software Solutions. A White Paper from Media FHE and Capita is the latest of a number of reports that show the range of responsibilities and issues registrars are now expected to take on, and how they feel about them.

Universities prepare for a "no-deal" Brexit

Universities are preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit by flying students back to the UK early, trying to secure supply chains and identifying contingency funds to cover unexpected scenarios.

MPs most interested in what universities can do for the UK economy

MPs and prospective MPs are more interested in what universities can do for the UK’s economy than in the teaching they provide for 2.5 million students a year, a survey has shown.

A poll of MPs and politicians hoping to win a seat in the forthcoming general election commissioned by Universities UK found that they were most interested in hearing about universities’ engagement with business and enterprise and the employability of their graduates.

Very few – just 14 per cent of MPs and 16 per cent of “future MPs” – wanted information about one of the core purposes of universities: providing good teaching and a high quality learning environment for their students.

The proportion of those polled who wanted to know about where universities stand on immigration – a hot topic for institutions ahead of the election – was also relatively low (16 per cent among MPs and 13 per cent among would-be MPs).

The survey conducted by ComRes found that by contract 43 per cent of MPs were interested in universities’ engagement with business and 42 per cent in graduate employability. Prospective MPs were equally interested in graduate employability (48 per cent) and what universities were doing to widen participation in HE and boost social mobility.

Asked what they thought universities are good at, the most popular answer among respondents was conducting world class research – supported by 78 per cent of MPs and 75 per cent of prospective MPs. Most also thought British universities were strong on competing internationally with other HE sectors, producing highly skilled and employable graduates, and contributing to local employment and local economies.

But there was far less confidence in universities using their funding efficiently – with just 38 per cent of MPs and 30 per cent of future MPs thinking this was the case.

The area where respondents felt universities were weakest, though, was in engaging with MPs and other policymakers. Only just under a quarter of MPs and 13 per cent of future MPs thought universities were strong in this area.

Source: Universities UK
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