HE policy update w/e 26th May 2017

The horrors of the Manchester bombing rightly paused the party bickering this week as each party announced it was suspending campaigning.

The role of EU funding in UK research and innovation

This week the role of EU funding in UK research and innovation has hit the headlines. A new report by Technopolis Group, commissioned by the UK national Academies – the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society – gives an analysis of the academic disciplines most reliant on EU research and innovation funding. The report highlights that of the 15 disciplines most dependent on EU funding, 13 are within the arts, humanities and social science sphere. Most dependent as a proportion of their total research funding are Archaeology (38% of funding), Classics (33%) and IT (30%) (see table below).

The full report dissects the information further considering the funding across disciplines, institutions, industrial sectors, company sizes and UK regions. It differentiates between the absolute value of research grant income from EU government bodies, and the relative value of research grant income from EU government bodies with respect to research grant income from all sources, including how EU funding interacts with other funding sources. There are also 11  case studies, including archaeology and ICT.

See the full report page 25 for particular detail on ICT and digital sector, and page 39 for archaeology. For press coverage see the Financial Times article.

Student resilience: Keen readers of the Wonkhe blogs will have noticed their fondness for the discourse on student resilience. This week there is another article on the topic (Student Resilience – it’s all about empowerment) which coincides with the release of Unite Students’ report Student Resilience: Exploring the positive case for resilience. The report aims to encourage greater debate, exploration and fresh perspectives within the context of the growing national emphasis and recognition of student mental wellbeing.

Social Mobility: The UPP Foundation and Bridge Group report Social Mobility and University Careers Services addresses why students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds earn less than their richer counterparts. Wonkhe summarise the report which concludes that “university participation does not have the levelling effect that was previously assumed”, and that efforts to improve social mobility are disproportionately focused on promoting access to higher education rather than success after studying. It cites reasons such as unpaid internships, geographical immobility, uneven participation in extracurricular activities, and lack of investment in careers services, and argues that there is considerable work to be done on reducing the gap. Included in the report’s recommendations is that NUS should support students’ unions to collect diversity data on sports clubs and societies, which it argues are a significant means of acquiring sought after employability skills. It further recommends that students’ unions and universities work to close the ‘participation gap’ in extra-curricular activities between students from different social backgrounds.

Transparent Taxation: A thought provoking piece in The Conversation challenges the readership to look beyond the slogans and consider the PM’s claims that the Conservative / Labour divide represents Low Vs High Taxation.  The article highlights the less egalitarian effects of raising VAT under Conservative leadership and recognises that taxation levels are often a response to the economic climate of the time, transcending party politics.

General election 2017 – This week’s focal election piece considers the incumbents and local candidates that will contest the Dorset constituencies in two weeks’ time.  It’s a long report, so you can read it on the intranet here.

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