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Moving the HE landscape’s quality contours … again

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.

Government plans mark a seismic shift in higher education policy

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.

UK universities affirm 'deep commitment' to high quality TNE

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.

Cassandra calling out higher education

After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.

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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