Weekly Digest 30/06/2022

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Finance and funding

Keir Starmer could be planning a move away from his pledge to scrap tuition fees if Labour wins the next general election. Speaking at a New Statesman event on Tuesday he said that the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis would inevitably lead to changes in policy. There is some suggestion that Starmer could propose something closer to a graduate tax.

The Times reports that 6,531 graduates owe more than £100,000 in student loans - a sharp rise on the May 2021 figure of 200 graduates.

UK Research and Innovation has announced an additional £23.7m funding for the Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund.

In celebration of India’s 75th year of independence the UK government, working with industrial partners, has announced details of 75 fully funded postgraduate scholarships for Indian students to study in the UK.


In a letter to colleagues, Universities minister Michelle Donelan has said that universities in England should “reflect carefully” as to whether membership of the Advance HE Race Equality Charter (and similar benchmarking schemes) is conducive to academic freedom and freedom of speech.  Advance HE has issued a statement in response.  The Times also has the story.

The Digital Poverty Alliance has published an evidence review into the state of digital poverty in the UK.  In it we learn that 36 per cent of those with no formal education use the internet, compared to 95 per cent of those with higher education qualifications.

Shân Wareing, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Northampton, explores the impact of housing fragility on students as new research from Jisc, commissioned by Unite Foundation, is launched.

A report by the BBC confirms that statues of Lord Nelson, Sir Francis Drake, and Admiral Robert Blake will remain on a building owned by Goldsmiths, University of London. This follows a 137-day student protest in 2019 that demanded the statues should be removed because of links to slavery.


In the wake of the suspension of English Literature at Sheffield Hallam University the Independent reports on the ongoing cuts to arts and humanities programmes across the higher education sector.

Admissions and outreach

Ongoing concerns about the struggle school leavers face to secure university places make the front page of The Times.

Quality and regulation

In a report released by REF2021 this morning, Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP) chair Athene Donald claims that a full quantitative analysis of interdisciplinary research (IDR) within REF2021 will not be possible due to the “somewhat random” use of the IDR flag in submissions.

The Designated Quality Body in England (DQB, the Quality Assurance Agency), along with the Office for Students and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), has published details of the arrangements for quality assurance for higher and degree-level apprenticeships.

Research England (RE) and Jisc have launched Octopus, a new platform with the aim of becoming the primary record of academic research.

The Office for Students has published its annual report and accounts for 2021-22.


The Prime Minister has announced an additional £9.8m for its Researchers at Risk meaning more than 130 Ukrainian academics can come to the UK.

Universities UK has announced the signing of 71 “twinning” partnerships between universities in the UK and Ukraine, as well as an additional £190,000 of government funding for the scheme. The partnerships will last five years and involve sharing of resources and support.

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