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.
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.
Mark Leach with some early analysis about the new team as it takes shape, and their place and priorities in government.
After the heat and noise around Labour’s announced £6,000 fee policy, Martin McQuillan continues his monthly series on higher education politics and policy by turning his attention to the Conservative Party – their policies and what life might be like for universities if the Conservatives are returned to power in May.
This week the results of the latest cycle of research audit in UK universities will be published. This will trigger a frenzy of analysis as the bones of REF 2014 are picked over with a view to identifying winners and losers, risers and fallers, and what if anything it might mean for the future. Martin McQuillan looks at how research funding has been treated by this Government and what future for the process is there in a time of increasing austerity.
The Autumn Statement confirmed the Chancellor’s plans to make further substantial cuts in the next Parliament. Around £4bn will likely have to come out of the budget for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Julian Gravatt thinks the unthinkable about what this means for HE, research, science and skills.
It is widely understood that graduates with higher level skills are critical to the ability of the UK economy to innovate and thus be competitive internationally so it is vitally important that the way we measure how the supply of graduates meets the demand of employers is useful to both universities and businesses. Rosa Fernandez looks at recent research that shows why current measures of graduate employability are not sufficient, and shows how it could improve.
Like everyone else I thought this year’s Autumn Statement was going to focus on the cost of living, energy and fuel prices. For all I know it might have done but I haven’t yet got past the announcement of 30,000 extra university places next year and the abolition of all number controls in 2015-16. That on top of 20,000 new high level apprenticeships and money for new science facilities across the UK. Andy Westwood takes an early look at the implications of the Autumn Statement.
We thought the last Spending Review in 2010 was bad enough. But this one – covering 2015-16 and then 2016-2018 is beginning to look a whole lot worse. Alongside this is a growing attack on the knowledge economy and the idea of human capital in the media and by policy makers. What might this mean for the future of further and higher education in the UK? Andy Westwood gives his take.
The headline stories will be about funding for research and innovation including a centre for research in aerodynamics, two new catapult centres for Transport Systems and Future Cities: “These will bring together world leading IT companies, innovative SMEs and leading universities to commercialise technologies that will increase efficiency and improve the quality of life for transport users and city residents.” There is also £100 million for new university research facilities designed to attract ‘co-investment’ from the private sector. This may tie-in with January’s announcement from David Willetts about new private postgraduate and research ‘universities’.
What do I mean by the ‘Social Aspirational Gap’? Well, I’ve borrowed the phrase from Matthew Taylor’s excellent keynote address to the QAA Annual Conference last week. It is essentially the gap between where society is now and where we want it to be in the future. The question is; do we have the tools required to get there?