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The independent report, prepared by Deloitte, analysed the impact of the Catalyst Fund and a previous scheme, the Strategic Development Fund, both funded and managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The Catalyst Fund is a flexible investment programme designed to respond to new policies and priorities. It supports strategic projects led by universities and colleges, enabling innovation and change across higher education, supporting the interests of students and encouraging universities and colleges to work in partnership with employers and others.
The fund supports new projects which need extra investment in their early phases to increase their chances of long-term success. Projects cover a range of activities from technical and skills development to new advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and from student safeguarding to tackling the barriers to students’ success. This is also one of the few funding streams available to support new teaching and learning activity.
The Deloitte report found that:
The report includes many examples of the types of projects supported.
Commenting on the report, Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:
‘It is encouraging to see the clear value for money from the Catalyst Fund – currently returning up to £4.64 for every £1 invested – with projects ranging from strengthening links with local employers to improving student safeguarding on campus.
‘Closer collaboration between universities and industry is critical to boosting graduate outcomes and earning power when they secure their first job. I look forward to seeing future projects from the fund deliver for students, universities and the wider economy.’
Professor Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:
‘This report confirms the high value of investments such as the Catalyst Fund in supporting the development of the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. We are pleased that the report has recognised the range of benefits and enhancements that this type of investment is delivering for students, universities and colleges, and a range of partners. We are working with all projects to ensure maximum value from our funding and investment.’
The Deloitte report on the economic impact of the Catalyst Fund is available at www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/year/2017/cfeconimpact/.