Financial sustainability and other issues

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Research Funding

The Department for Business, Energy, and the Industrial Strategy has confirmed the £39.8bn research and development budget for 2022-2025, which will help deliver the government's Innovation Strategy and drive forward ambitions as a science superpower.  UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will receive over £25bn across the next three years, and outside of this budget around £2.3bn a year has been committed as contributions to EU programs including Horizon 2020.  The new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) will receive £475m over three years.


Following last week’s National Audit Office report into regulating the financial sustainability of universities in England this Wonkhe article explores the issue.  A review of the protection for students when universities are not able to meet promises is available.


UCU began balloting staff to take further industrial action over cuts to pensions and deteriorating pay and conditions, in addition to the strikes scheduled later this month.   At the University a strike focussed on ongoing concerns regarding the pension scheme has been announced from 28 March until 1 April inclusive.

International students

The Skills Minister Alex Burghart outlined the successes of the UK’s International Education Strategy, published in 2019, during a keynote speech to the International Higher Education Forum, celebrating the achievement of the target of 600,000 international students studying in UK HE but adding that more could be done to support the international student journey from application to employment. He also praised the British HE sector for its support of Ukraine.

The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a call for evidence as part of research it is conducting into what English universities do to improve the experience of international students. Alongside this, OfS has published a new insight briefing on international students and the cultural and financial benefits they bring to English higher education, as well as the need for more data on their experiences.

Access and Participation

The OfS access and participation priorities have been updated.  Universities and colleges have been asked to refocus their access and participation plans to show how they are addressing these new priorities alongside taking all reasonable steps to comply with the provisions of their existing plans.

Blended Learning

The OfS has launched a national review of blended learning, amidst concerns that the poor quality of the online experience for some students during the pandemic has undermined the positive potential of mixing in-person and online course delivery.  It has the aim of identifying best practice, as well as approaches that are likely to fall short of regulatory requirements.

According to new research from Disabled Students UK, 41 per cent of disabled students believe that their course accessibility improved through the pandemic. This topic was further explored on Wonkhe.

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