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Research England invites bids for £4m fund

Research England is launching a new fund in autumn 2018 to support the scaling up of existing, strategically-significant, internationally-collaborative research relationships between English Higher Education Institutions and universities and research organisations outside of the UK.

Graduate unemployment rate lowest in 39 years

The graduate unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 39 years, a new analysis has revealed. report by Prospects, the graduate careers advice charity, shows that the unemployment rate for graduates six months after leaving university fell to 5.1 per cent this year – the lowest since 1979 when it was 4.9 per cent.

Universities ready to respond to new ethnic pay gap reporting rules

Universities will be “willing contributors” in the drive to publish ethnic minority pay differentials and some already make the data public, according to an equality think tank.

Growth in degree apprenticeships should be a priority, MPs say

A big expansion of degree apprenticeships “is crucial” to create a high-quality system that can plug the skills gap, according to MPs.

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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