The Higher Education and Research Bill sets out broad changes to the structure and regulation of universities and the public research sector.Status: Ongoing
Higher Education and Research Bill
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.
The Academy is engaging with the passage of the Bill through both Houses of Parliament, to ensure that it reflects the best structure for the future of UK research and innovation. This has included several joint outputs produced by the four National Academies, such as:
- A set of key questions to inform the Science & Technology Committee's cross-examination session with Sir John Kingman.
- A high-level briefing on key priorities for the medical sciences in relation to the Bill (September 2016).
- A set of of key questions raised by the Bill, with probing amendments to seek further clarification on these during the Committee stage (August 2016).
- A joint briefing setting out the facts around the current structure and the new organisational framework proposed in the Bill (July 2016).
All documents are available to download on the right hand side of this page.