Thatcher’s enduring legacy to British HE

by Tom Bailey June 23, 2014

What did Margaret Thatcher ever do to British universities? The last few days have seen much analysis of Thatcher’s legacy for universities, research and science – which gives us an appropriate moment to assess the history. Tom Bailey takes a look at Thatcher and her critics – when in power and today – and how their response to her policies shaped today’s landscape.

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Debating the future of research

by Mark Leach November 25, 2013

The REF submission deadline has finally arrived. But it’s only the beginning for researchers, departments and universities that have gambled big and need a good result. The results will make or break many universities’ ambitions and long-term strategic plans. The REF’s importance to the sector, or the impact on it cannot be overstated. But it’s not just the REF looming large on policymaker’s minds. With severe pressure on the whole of the BIS budget and many outstanding issues to resolve, will the next Parliament afford the opportunity for a far-reaching debate to help shape the next long term settlement for research and science in the UK?

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Survey motivation

by Debbie McVitty October 10, 2012

This week I have decided to have a pop at the practice of asking students about their motivations for study in student experience surveys. It is not a particularly topical issue – but then, if we waited for some aspects of higher education policy to appear in the news cycle before talking about them we would be waiting a long time. This post is a reflection on the question of student motivation, how and why we measure it and what that says about us.

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Studying popular culture

by Will Brooker January 9, 2012

In the first week of January 2012, Jane Clare Jones – a doctoral student in Philosophy – published an article about the Doctor Who Christmas Special. It appeared on ‘Comment is Free’ section of the online Guardian newspaper, and it was met by multiple responses. Many of the comments were remarkably, and depressingly, similar to […]

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Business as usual – a look at the Innovation & Research Strategy

by Mark Leach December 8, 2011

Last week I predicted that today’s Innovation & Research Strategy would in no way be a radical document that questioned the underlying principles of research or research funding. Despite some optimistic thinking in some quarters of the sector, today we can see that the Government’s appetite for constant revolution is starting to wane. This strategy has instead provided them with an opportunity to reinforce what’s already working and look ahead – albeit only to the short or medium term.

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Time for research (Updated)

by Mark Leach November 28, 2011

Next week, we are expecting the government to launch their long-awaited Innovation & Research strategy. Still suffering whiplash from the HE White Paper, there are those in the sector feeling nervous about what might be coming. But do they need to be?

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The research funding debate: why size doesn’t matter

by Mark Leach July 14, 2011

Research was notable by its absence in the HE white paper, leaving a large hole in the government’s plans for the sector. Recognition of its importance to higher education and its inter-relationship with issues related to the teaching of undergraduates, which features so prominently in the document, should have been included. Research has no need of revolution but as a central tenet of UK higher education, it seems incongruous not to build other policies on the foundation that it provides.

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