The Government announced the New 'University Challenge' in March 2008, asking HEFCE to develop a programme to support new HE centres by 2014. HEFCE consulted on the programme, and in March 2009 invited proposals to create new HE centres.
Partnerships interested in developing an HE centre or new university campus were asked to make proposals, submitted through a lead higher education institution (HEI), in two stages:
A total of 23 statements of intent were submitted by the end-of-June deadline. These have been assessed against the criteria in the consultation.
The HEFCE Board, at its meeting on 25 September, considered the 23 statements of intent it had received. It concluded that six could be developed further. These are:
As a result of the Board’s decision, lead HEIs whose proposals have met our criteria are being advised to wait till Spending Review decisions for the period 2011-14 have been made before doing further work on developing full business cases.
Two further proposals – Wakefield (lead HEI, University of Leeds), and Wigan and Leigh (lead HEI, University of Central Lancashire) – made strong cases, but were not considered as high a priority for funding, in view of their proximity to existing HE provision.
The Board decided that 17 proposals (including Wakefield, and Wigan and Leigh) were not strong enough to be taken forward. The reasons for these decisions include: proximity to existing HE campuses; insufficient evidence; uncertainty of population growth; insufficiently strong strategic partnership; and proposals relating to employer engagement not meeting the criteria. These proposals are listed below.
The Fens, East Anglia is one of two areas (the other being Somerset) identified as having very limited HE opportunities for their local populations. Consequently we have invited Anglia Ruskin University to submit a revised statement of intent for an HE centre that would better address HE provision in the Fens.
All lead HEIs that submitted statements of intent by the deadline have received detailed feedback.
With a view to the longer term, HEFCE is inviting new statements of intent which are not reworked proposals of those already submitted.