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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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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 statement of intent
  • a full business case.

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:

  • Somerset (various locations) (lead HEI – Bournemouth University)
  • Crawley (lead HEI – University of Brighton)
  • Milton Keynes (lead HEI – University of Bedfordshire)
  • Swindon (lead HEI – University of the West of England, Bristol)
  • Thurrock (lead HEI – University of Essex)
  • The Wirral (lead HEI – University of Chester).

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.

Proposals that did not sufficiently meet the criteria to proceed further

  • Ashington and Berwick (lead HEI – University of Sunderland)
  • Aylesbury (lead HEI – Buckinghamshire New University)
  • Croydon (no lead HEI)
  • Doncaster (lead HEI – University of Hull)
  • Havering (lead HEI – Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Halifax (lead HEI – Leeds Metropolitan University)
  • Herefordshire (lead HEI – University of Worcester
  • Hertfordshire (lead HEI – University of Hertfordshire)
  • North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire (lead HEI – University of Derby)
  • North Northamptonshire (lead HEI – University of Northampton)
  • Peterborough (lead HEI – Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Salisbury (lead HEI – University of Bath)
  • Shropshire (lead HEI – Staffordshire University)
  • South Black Country – Dudley and Sandwell (lead HEI – University of Wolverhampton)
  • Thanet (lead HEI – Canterbury Christ Church University)
  • Wakefield (lead HEI – University of Leeds)
  • Wigan and Leigh (lead HEI – University of Central Lancashire)


1. Further details on the New 'University Challenge'