I've been at a one day seminar in London today looking at Funding the UK's Future - Investment in Higher Education.
Opening session was by David Sweeney, Director of Research, Innovation and Skills at HEFCE, entitled Less Talking More Doing.
Unfortunately due to problems with the train and the tube I missed the first few minutes, but managed to get the gist. Basically, be positive, we're in a good position! Following are some key points, in note form as always when I'm trying to blog and listen at same time.
HE sector is looking at growth not austerity.
Research excellence, 11 UK Universities in top 100 in world in research terms.
1.8m students studying in HE in UK, and 84% are satisfied or very satisfied.
Is income growth in the sector.
But, there is pressure on student support budgets. Uncertainty about ability to fund the loan system.
Universities are the only game in town in many parts of the country. Other public institutions have been savaged by government spending cuts. Arts and cultural centres for example hit very hard. Often the University is the largest employer and the most stable institution.
Operating surpluses are highest they've ever been. Sector is in a good position. (My comment - BUT aren't our surpluses high because we have to fund our own capital now?)
Income to HE has gone up. Expenditure has gone down, especially on staff costs. Universities have been prudent.
Businesses are in trouble and can't get money to invest, but we are creating it.
Universities are outward looking and seeking further investment, need to align their objectives with partners in industry and business.
Of the £23bn income to the HE sector, about £11bn comes from public
purse, about half is public money. With that comes a responsibility to do public good.
Uncertain and erratic economic recovery
Continued deficit reduction
Political instability and uncertainty especially in regional support
Unis have big economic impact.
Every £1 from HEIF produces £6 in economic impact.
Most Universities have commitment to KE ( Knowledge Exchange)
Need to work in partnership with business and public sector.
Main risks are losing public funding, and students not wanting to come. Winning on second one, need to keep fighting for first.
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