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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.
Research Councils research expenditure per head
Higher Education Funding Councils per head (Recurrent research grants)
Innovate UK expenditure per head
Yorkshire and the Humber
Sources: BIS Analysis using Population: Office for National Statistics mid-2013 population estimates http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/population-estimates-for-uk-- england-and-wales--scotland-and-northern-ireland/2013/stb---mid-2013-uk-population- estimates.html. Research Council Expenditure [Data extracted 12 June 2015]: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/about/aboutrcs/research-funding-across-the-uk/ . Data includes grants to Higher Education Institutions for grants, studentships, fellowships as well as funding to Research Council Institutes, IROs, infrastructure funding. Higher Education Funding Council data obtained from Higher Education Statistics Agency HE Finance Plus 2013/14 volumes – Table 6b. https://www.hesa.ac.uk . Innovate UK figures relate to monies paid, by way of grant funding, to organisations within each region for the period.
The figures relate only to Innovate UK’s core funding received from BIS, and excludes funding relating to Industrial Strategy and other BIS priorities and funding provided to Innovate UK by other Government Departments.
Notes: Excludes National Academies, UK Space Agency and UK Atomic Energy Authority. Data for Higher Education Funding Council research funding are based on academic years (August to July); data on Research Council and Innovate UK research and innovation expenditure are based on financial years (April to March).
A growing proportion of university research funding is being awarded to the “Golden Triangle”, new figures show.
A report published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which defines the term as all higher education institutions in Oxford, Cambridge and London, shows they are attracting record amounts of funding.
In 2013/14, just over 46 per cent of funding from research councils, research grants and contracts and Higher Education Funding Council research grant funding was distributed across the Golden Triangle, compared to 42.6 a decade earlier.
The report, Public Research and Innovation Expenditure: Geographic breakdown of public research and innovation expenditure, also highlights the dominance of London and the South East in the research funding landscape.
In 2013/14, 40 per cent of public expenditure on research and innovation went to the two regions.
Research council funding in London equated to £73.70 spent per head of population, compared to just £11 per head in Northern Ireland and £20.80 per head in the East and West Midlands. The average across the UK was £44.70 per head of the population.
Pam Tatlow, chief executive of the university think-tank Million+ said that the regional imbalances had to be addressed.
“Britain needs to be more imaginative in its approach to the funding of science and research,” she said. “The monies allocated through the REF and the Research Councils should not be the end of the story. In order to address regional imbalances but also Britain’s poor record in innovation compared to that of the Nordic countries and Germany, the government should create a new fund for translational research geared at those universities which historically have received very modest amounts of research funding from the public purse but which nonetheless have excellent research.”
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