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Higher education is not broken - it just needs to fix its diversity problem

Reviewing the past week's higher education news, Rachel Hewitt, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, takes issue with claims that UK higher education is "broken" and sees encouraging signs that it is addressing issues over diversity.

New year presents HE sector with fresh challenges

Professor Malcolm Todd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Provost (academic and student experience) at the University of Derby, comments on what he sees as the most significant higher education news and opinions making headlines in the first week of 2020.

Universities UK International calls on employers to back study abroad campaign

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, introduces the launch of Year Three of UUKi's Go International: Stand Out campaign, calling on employers to promote the value of international experience.

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.

Government announces £200m to support engineering and physics PhDs

Funding of over £200 million to support PhD students in engineering and physical sciences and boost the UK’s research into quantum technologies, has been announced today by Universities Minister Jo Johnson.

A £167 million investment in Doctoral Training Partnerships and £37 million investment in the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme will support cutting-edge research across the UK and help top students into a PhD.

In an announcement at  the University of Oxford’s Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, the minister said funding for quantum technologies will further boost the UK’s leading position in creating new technologies which use advanced physics to deliver products for anything from more accurate brain-scanning and earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis to smaller and more powerful computers.

The Doctoral Training Partnerships are being awarded to 40 universities from Southampton to Aberdeen, Cardiff and Belfast and will give around 2,000 students the opportunity of Doctoral study, nurturing scientific and engineering talent in the UK. It will also enable universities to develop new ideas with more research support, so they can then leverage future funding from business and deliver new methods and understanding which will help improve our lives.

"We are committed to securing the UK’s position as a world leader in science and innovation. The government is ensuring major new discoveries happen here, such as the creation of super-powerful quantum computers which scientists are working on in Oxford. This new funding builds on our protection for science spending by supporting research in our world-leading universities and helping to train the science leaders of tomorrow," Johnson said.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: Quantum technologies promise to revolutionise the way we live our lives. At Oxford we stand at the forefront of this revolution through our world-class research and training programmes. It is a pleasure to welcome the minister to Oxford to announce support for this key research area, as well as sizeable funding for doctoral places in physics and engineering that will help us continue to train the leading scientists of the future.

The £37 million funding includes investing £25 million in new equipment at 7 university-based quantum institutions, and £12 million to help train researchers starting out their careers in quantum engineering. Together they will help ensure the UK is in a leading position to benefit from the huge potential of quantum engineering for major global industries like computing and consumer electronics.

 

Jo Johnson
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