HE Policy update

Read the UUK evidence to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee inquiry into industrial strategy.

This highlights the role of universities in:
• making long -term, sustainable contributions to productivity and growth,
• creating the best possible environment for businesses to thrive
• sustaining the world-class excellence of the UK’s research base to attract businesses from all over the world to locate and invest in the UK
• meeting the demands of business through a strong supply of higher-level skills

Research Professional have highlighted a sharp drop in H2020 participation from members that are not full or associate members – “Only 11.7 per cent of Horizon 2020 grant agreements were found include a partner who was not an EU member or Horizon 2020 associated country, the report said. Under Framework 7, 20.5 per cent of agreements included at least one non-European country.”

The Higher Education and Research Bill has finished its Commons committee stage and the amended legislation has now been returned to the Commons. A date for its third reading, when MPs will vote upon whether to pass the amended legislation, has yet to be set. Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, batted away all opposition amendments at the final committee meeting on 18 October, which examined the bill’s research provisions. The opposition amendments sought to provide additional protections for the existing research councils and to ensure a closer relationship between research and teaching, which Johnson said were “unnecessary” since such powers will be developed in the framework documents, and would jeopardise the flexibility he wants for the legislation. He also confirmed that If the bill is passed into law in its present form, ministers would have powers to change the names and functions of the research councils without consulting the academic community. Meanwhile, peers are holding informal conversations about how to approach the bill when it enters the Lords.

Brexit speculation continues – this week there was a rumour that students would be excluded from immigration figures after all, squashed quickly by No 10:
“The Government objective is to reduce annual net migration to the tens of thousands, and in order to deliver this we are keeping all visa routes are under review.
“Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included.”

A UUK task force has been looking at violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students and has now reported. See the UUK press releasehere.
“The evidence showed that while many universities have already taken positive steps to address these issues, university responses are not always as joined-up as they could be. There is more work that can be done to share effective practice across the sector.

HESA published a report on the DLHE consultation – this is not the outcome of the consultation, just an analysis by HESA of the responses, but it gives a sense of direction. HESA will publish a proposal based on this feedback and run a second consultation on it towards the end of the year.

Two research reports were also published – these were commissioned by HESA to support the review.
CFE Research’s report on ‘What do good outcomes from HE look like’ considers what good outcomes are for a range of groups, including students and graduates, higher education providers, employers and society/the state.
Warwick Institute for Employment Research’s report on ‘Richer information on student views’.

And a reminder to engage in the “Schools that work for everyone” consultation –workshops on 4th and 17th November – e-mail policy@bournemouth.ac.uk for more information

If you’ve missed a couple of blogs, you can catch up on the last few here.


Jane Forster, VC’s Policy Adviser

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