Higher Education and Research Bill

The Higher Education and Research Bill sets out broad changes to the structure and regulation of universities and the public research sector.

Ongoing

The Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill, announced on 18 May, sets out broad changes to the structure and regulation of the universities and the public research sector. This includes the introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework and the creation of UK Research & Innovation to draw together funding bodies.

It builds on an earlier consultation Green Paper, published by the Minister for Universities and Science, in late 2015. The Academy submitted evidence, highlighting the potential disruption to the sector, and the need for Research Councils to retain an appropriate degree of autonomy and budget, and the need to ensure that the Chief Executive posts remained attractive to high calibre individuals.

As it currently stands, the Bill sets out a framework to:

  • Establish UK Research & Innovation as an umbrella body to better coordinate research funding and present a single accounting officer to Government.
  • Establish a new Office for Students, to act as a regulator for the HE sector and coordinate a Teaching Excellence Framework, modelled on the REF.
  • Abolish HEFCE in its current form, transfer its teaching functions into the Office for Students, and rename its research functions as Research England.
  • Move the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England under UKRI.

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