Thu, 11 March 2010
Concentrating research funding and doctoral students in just a handful of universities will damage both the UK university sector and the economy as a whole, according to new research from university think-tank million+
Launched on 2nd March 2010 at the House of Commons, ‘A Postgraduate Strategy for Britain’ argues that proposals from research intensive universities to concentrate postgraduate provision should be set aside; this approach would have a negative effect on the economy, will damage innovation, will undermine expansion and accessibility, and will weaken the international competitiveness of the sector.
Recommendations from the report include:
• The policy of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which requires funding councils to support greater levels of concentration in high-level STEM from 2010-11 should be set aside.
• Research councils should adopt positive policies to promote professionally focused and employer focused postgraduate provision.
• A fairer share of postgraduate funding should be used to support innovation in postgraduate provision in new subject areas and emerging markets.
• Part-time, flexible and accessible postgraduate provision should be incentivised by research and funding councils.
• Targets should be set to increase the number and diversity of UK-domiciled postgraduate students.
The research, undertaken in partnership with Coventry University, showed that modern universities deliver 37% of all postgraduate provision in the UK and support 76% of all postgraduate students considered as mature (25 or over). Modern universities also supported almost half (48%) of the total part-time postgraduate student population and attracted 40.6% of all new UK-domiciled minority ethnic students from 2007-2009.
Professor Les Ebdon, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire said,
“There is no economic or academic case for the concentration of funding for research or doctoral students. Once the lower levels of research funding received by modern universities are taken into account pound for pound these universities are more productive in their delivery of postgraduate provision which has always been reliant on the quality of teaching and supervision rather than on intensity or critical mass of research funding.”
million+ also recommends that further detailed research is needed to look at student funding support models for postgraduate students. The complexity of the student support system for postgraduate students is a barrier for many individuals and needs to be simplified to increase access to and expand postgraduate provision. Lord Browne’s review of fees and funding in England should not seek to transfer funding from undergraduate provision to postgraduate provision.
To download a copy of the report, please click here.
Category:News -- posted at: 1:23 PM