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HEFCE commissioned Curtis and Cartwright Consulting Limited to conduct research into how other countries or states with similar higher education funding and student finance systems to England have identified and mitigated risks towards particular subjects or skills, and the policy approach adopted.

Eleven countries were selected for detailed investigation and the research concluded that:

  • there is a diverse range of strategies used to support subjects and skills of strategic importance
  • national approaches to support priority subjects are often different from England
  • varied interventions were employed for different parts of ‘the education pipeline’
  • evidence used by governments for making decisions and interventions varies across the countries
  • most counties seek evidence of the success of their own, or others’, interventions
  • funding and fee systems differ across all the eleven countries.

The research findings will inform HEFCE’s future policy and approach to strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS).