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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.

"Worrying" downturn in UK share of EU research funding

UK university leaders have expressed alarm over new government figures that show participation by British universities in the European Union's €80 billion (£71 billion) Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme has fallen.

The latest data from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy shows an overall downturn in the number of times UK institutions took part in the programme and the funding received in September this year, compared with both the previous quarter and the same time last year.

The UK’s share of total participations has fallen from 14.09 per cent in the period of February to September 2016 to 11.90 per cent in the same period this year. In the last quarter, it has fallen from 12.16 per cent to 11.60 per cent. Britain's share of total funding has also dropped from 15.63 per cent in the period of February to September 2016 to 12.95 in the same period this year. In the last quarter there was a 2.66 per cent fall.

The impact is being felt most keenly in the Societal Challenges part of the programme where funding is awarded to collaborative projects, with the UK share of funding in this area down more than 3 per cent in the last quarter.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of UUK, said the figures were “concerning” and made the need for clarity on Britain’s participation beyond Brexit even more acute.

"The downturn highlights the urgent need for clarity on the UK's participation in Horizon 2020 beyond Brexit and, while the UK is still a member of the EU, the need to communicate that the UK's universities and researchers are
still eligible to participate and apply for funding through EU research and innovation programmes,” he said.

"The UK benefits enormously from the access to vital networks, funding and talent Horizon 2020 provides. It allows researchers to collaborate with world-leading experts on life-changing research, with knock-on benefits for the economy, society and individuals in the UK."

A regional breakdown of the funding shows that London receives nearly a quarter of the UK funding, with the South East getting a further 16 per cent. This compares to 2.6 per cent going to the North East and 3.1 per cent to the East Midlands.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities top the table of UK Horizon 2020 higher education funding, receiving £226 million and £220 million respectively, while other Russell Group institutions dominate the top 20.

 

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