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Budget 2016: High politics may trump real policy

George Osborne will publish his seventh budget less than four weeks away on 16th March 2016 and with a looming referendum and high politics dominating the agenda, it’s likely to be his most short and technical to date.

Innovation – you’re more than a spin out to me

Taken together, the Green Paper, Nurse Review and Spending Review amount to the biggest overhaul of research and innovation governance and funding structures in 20 years. That means that 2016 is the best shot we’ve had in a long time to create the best environment for a healthy innovation ecosystem

Spending review: the unthinkable predictions

Returning to his ‘unthinkable’ work from December 2014, Julian Gravatt compares the worst predictions to the realities of the Spending Review and finds a mixed bag, with things not being nearly bad as it might have been, but still with plenty of uncertainty and possible pain to come.

Spending Review: there may be trouble ahead

Martin McQuillan looks at the Chancellor’s plan for spending over the next five years and the potential pitfalls that might be on the horizon. As any university finance director knows, the further the prediction made, the greater the risk of disruption to the plan.

Spending Review: In the Bleak Midwinter?

Reviewing the Spending Review, Andy Westwood looks through George Osborne’s greatest hits and biggest gifts, and also some of his biggest challenges to higher education.

Nurse’s watery prescription for research

Following the Nurse Review of research councils, James Wilsdon reviews the long-awaited report and takes the temperature of the policy community finding that the Nobel Laureate has published something watery and unlikely to have a lasting impact on policy.

Mind the gap: public funding for FE and HE across the UK

As the Spending Review looms, speculation is rife about which areas of public spending are in for the deepest cuts. Sitting within BIS, budgets for FE and HE look particularly vulnerable – Gavan Conlon looks at why and what should be done.

Proposals to cut HE budgets are a recipe for disaster

Responding to the Policy Exchange report published today, Karmjit Kaur of UUK argues that the proposals to cut HE in favour of technical education would damage the economy and row back much of the progress made by universities in recent years.

The future of universities is more political than ever

Following the July Budget, big speech from the new universities minister and developments at the Home Office, Martin McQuillan brings together everything we know and considers how the Conservatives will tackle higher education over the next parliament.

The Budget: what it means for the longer-term

A few days on from the 2015 Budget, Julian Gravatt maps out the longer-term economic landscape for universities, science and the rest of the BIS budget which now faces further pressure and challenges.

Universities continue to defy gravity

After George Osborne’s Budget, Jonathan Simons assesses the settlement for universities, who despite all other policies have defied gravity to secure a generous settlement – albeit with some strings and caveats.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

Previewing this week’s Emergency Budget, Andy Westwood assesses George Osborne’s long-term economic plan, the short-term pressures on spending, and the grand Northern Powerhouse narrative that will likely shape the legacy of this uniquely powerful Chancellor.

Grants: all just a little bit of history repeating

Maintenance grants are looking increasingly vulnerable as the Treasury seeks to make savings from BIS. David Malcolm assesses the government’s options if it wants to make savings from grants.

Finally understanding the RAB charge

Johnathan Simons digests Andrew McGettigan’s new HEPI pamphlet which is the authoritative word on how student loan debt is treated in accounting terms by the government. And as important as his findings, are the many questions that his investigation pose for policy.

Priorities for the new BIS team

After rumours of its demise had been widely circulating, today BIS finds itself in an unexpectedly strong position, with a fresh ministerial team made up of high profile and influential MPs within this majority Conservative administration. Jonathan Simons looks at their priorities for HE, science, FE and skills.

DIUS ex Machina? Or whither or wither BIS?

As a government reshuffle is now under way, Andy Westwood looks at the prospect for BIS and the universities and science brief – could they be moved around Whitehall? And what of the likely personalities in the frame to have an influence over the future of the sector in government?

Budget 2015: loans for PhD and masters students

Today’s 2015 budget announces loans of £25,000 for masters and PhD students as part of a package from the government to “broaden and strengthen support for postgraduate researchers”. We round up the highlights for HE and science from the government’s last Budget before the coming General Election.