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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.

Pause and re-consider HE Bill in light of Brexit, says BIS committee chair

The passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill through parliament should be paused and its proposals re-considered in light of the impact of Brexit on the sector, the chair of the House of Commons Business Innovation and Skills Committee has said.

Concerns over how the referendum result will affect UK higher education are so great that the BIS Committee is launching an inquiry into it.

The Committee’s chair Iain Wright, the MP for Hartlepool, warned that universities business models will face significant challenges in the run up to Brexit.

With the second reading of the Higher Education and Research Bill currently postponed, it is time to “pause and reflect on whether the proposals contained in the Bill address the post-Brexit challenges Britain’s universities face”, he said.

Writing for the Politics Home website, Wright pointed out that UK universities are already being excluded from some pan-European bids for research funding.

“With this uncertainty, the government needs to act clearly and decisively, providing as much clarity as possible to ensure universities do not miss out on research funding,” he said.

There is also “huge uncertainty” over whether staff and students from the EU can continue to work and study in Britain.

The government should “send out an early and clear signal that the openness and quality of our higher education sector will not be compromised by any restrictions in the freedom of movement”.

He added that ministers should also take the opportunity to take international students out of net migration targets, and revisit post-study visa arrangements to make it easier for overseas students to work in the UK for a period after graduating.

Concerns over the uncertain status of EU staff and students have also been expressed by Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, who has has called for clarity from the government, after Home Secretary and Conservative leader candidate Theresa May raised questions over the right of EU citizen workers and students to stay in Britain following Brexit.

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