Foreword by Tim Melville-Ross CBE
HEFCE has a key role to play in promoting high-quality, cost-effective teaching and research to meet the needs of students, the economy and society.
We are the principal public funder of a higher education system that stands out as a national and international success story amid today's economic uncertainties and challenges.
The Government recognises the central role that universities play in rebuilding the economy and securing sustainable growth. Universities are essential to the country's economic and social achievements and the vitality of its intellectual and cultural life. Our role is to maintain this important contribution to national success by investing wisely in high-level knowledge, skills and innovation.
Higher education today is being brought to a more diverse student body. We are strongly supporting the increasingly close relationship between universities and business. Much of the country's research is world-class. With 1 per cent of the world's population, the UK achieved 12 per cent of the world's scientific citations. It is essential that we press forward with these advances.
While higher education has to play its part in achieving government savings in these testing economic times, it is also essential that we secure sufficient investment – both public and private – to maintain the global competitiveness of higher education in England.
Introduction by Sir Alan Langlands
The total turnover of higher education institutions in England is more than £20 billion.
HEFCE is by far the largest single funder of higher education and research. The greater part of our allocations is distributed as 'block grant', which gives universities and colleges the discretion to spend according to their own priorities. This underpins the autonomy and diversity of institutions, widely regarded as the major strengths of higher education.
HEFCE is an advocate and supporter of all that is good and distinctive in higher education. We work closely with universities, colleges and other partners to achieve excellence and impact in education and research, and to provide opportunities for those who have the ability to benefit from higher education. Our responsibilities are to develop policies, distribute funds, safeguard quality and assure the proper stewardship of public money. We also provide advice to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
HEFCE will continue to work hard with universities, colleges and Government to ensure the quality of teaching continues to be trusted and achieves internationally respected standards. We will support universities in delivering the knowledge and high-level skills required to help the professions, businesses and public services to innovate and prosper. We will also continue to promote research excellence across a wide range of academic disciplines.
Through these activities and our support, we will seek to ensure that universities and colleges continue to be a powerful force in achieving the country’s twin aims of a vibrant knowledge economy and a just society.