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1.   This is the 11th edition of our 'Regional profiles of higher education'. It sets out a range of data on the pattern of higher education (HE) in each of the nine regions in England. Information for each region includes:

  • a map showing all the universities and colleges providing HE courses
  • a profile of students’ study methods and counts of students by institution
  • characteristics of students: their age, gender and ethnicity; where they come from; what subjects they study; and how they study – full-time or part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate
  • the annual income and funding of each higher education institution (HEI)
  • where students find employment when they graduate from an HEI, and what kind of jobs they take
  • knowledge exchange activities between HEIs and business.

2.   The HE sector is well placed to respond creatively to the challenges and opportunities of the global economy. However, we need to balance our global perspective with the need to relate to our own communities and regions.

3.   HE plays a vital role in making the country and individual regions more competitive by promoting the knowledge-based aspects of our economy. By supporting lifelong learning and widening participation, HE can also help deliver increased economic productivity and growth, and reduce social inequalities. For this reason HEIs are often seen as powerful instruments for promoting the economic, social and cultural welfare and development of their localities, their regions, and the nation as a whole.

4.   HEFCE is a national organisation whose mission is to promote and fund high-quality, cost-effective teaching and research to meet the diverse needs of students, the economy and society. However, HE is delivered in various places by different kinds of institutions, each requiring different responses and different levels of regional and local engagement. In this context we believe we can best achieve our strategic objectives by taking into account opportunities in particular localities.

5.   Our approach to the regions recognises the diversity of HEIs and of regions, and does not seek to impose any blueprint, but rather to support the relationships that are already being developed between regional and local bodies and HEIs. We are careful to take into account smaller areas and trans-regional issues as appropriate.

6.   We will continue to work with regional bodies such as Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs). We believe there are significant opportunities for us to continue to work with regional stakeholders to support institutions in making the most effective contribution to their region or area, helping them to meet the needs of the students, economy and society in their locality.

7.   All this needs to be underpinned by accurate and extensive information about the regional role of HE.