Live and learn

The government’s Higher Education Framework sets out a bold and progressive vision for the sector — a sector that is diverse, dynamic and accessible. Not all universities are the same. The UK cannot sustain 140 full-service universities and expect them all to succeed at the same level in the same tasks. Diversity and differentiation of task and mission underpins the excellence of the UK higher-education system.

It is critical that we maintain the academic quality of the UK’s higher education and continue to enhance the student experience so that universities are able to meet student expectations and the nation’s needs.

To deliver this bold vision, it is crucial that the imminent funding review sets out a sensible and robust system of funding. This must provide a long-term sustainable environment to ensure that the UK’s world-class universities can continue to deliver a very high-quality academic experience to all students and meet business needs.

We strongly support the government’s recognition that, to ensure research excellence and increase impact, ‘more research concentration, not less’ is required to support the world-class research areas within our universities. In doing this, the government must fund, on a competitive basis, the very best research wherever it is found, based not on past reputation but on demonstrable excellence and achievement.

Prof Paul Wellings, chair, 1994 group of universities