26 Mar

Prime HE News Highlights

The countdown to the election is fully underway, and the role higher education has to play in the next 41 days is no small one. With policy and politics taking the limelight for HE, we explore these and other highlights of recent Higher Education news, including our presence last week at the International Higher Education Forum.



Today Wonkhe has released the top 50 movers and shakers who have the most influence in the Higher Education sector. It’s the first ever HE Power List and Wonkhe hopes that it will be an annual announcement. They pulled together a collection of HE observers and commentators to compile the list, with an emphasis on policy influence – who has the power and interest in order to impact upon higher education policy?

It’s an interesting list, and we at Hobsons were delighted to find that leader of the think tank Social Market Foundation Emran Mian, who delivered informative insight at theplenary of our 2015 Hobsons U conference earlier in the month, has made the list. To revisit some of the interesting themes he explored in the panel discussion during the conference, visit our blog where Emran explores the question ‘What does the future hold for you and your institution?’

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For more depth on the making of the HE Power list and further analysis, this Wonkhe introduction is a good place to start.

With education policy being in the limelight then, we can turn to The Telegraph, which has published an interesting guide to Education policies for each of the parties. However, with an opening statement declaring “education has arguably fallen down the political agenda a little” we can expect to take the rest with a pinch of salt…


Last week the Hobsons team had a great presence at the International Higher Education Forum organised in partnership with Universities UK and the International Unit. It was a great conference, with interesting and wide ranging topics for debate, engaging speakers and inquisitive delegates.

Coverage of the conference was varied. The PIE News highlighted that UK higher education, according to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Attaché ‘could do better’ in its provision of education to international students.

The Times Higher Education’s Editor Phil Baty made an interesting contribution to the panel discussion on ‘Sleeping giants and rising stars in international higher education’, reflecting that many UK universities were still punching above their weight, struggling perhaps but still succeeding in the ever competitive global landscape of higher education. However, austerity measures in Britain are undoubtedly having a big impact. In Phil’s own words ‘The balance of power is starting to tip from West to East and some sleeping giants are certainly starting to wake up.’

The Times Higher Education itself in covering the conference led with the news that the focus on recruiting foreign students reveals a ‘mission drift’ for the sector.


Another indicator of the importance of higher education policy this week comes with thenews that a study has found that informing government policy was the most common kind of impact submitted to the 2014 research excellence framework (REF). It looks like the findings are set to inspire lots of debate and controversy, particularly at the apparent importance attributed to media coverage of research. Further discussion is likely to occur when the report is fully launched at the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s REFlections conference on 25 March.

On the topic of HEFCE, we are greeted by the news this week that the funding body will allocate £3.97 billion to universities and colleges in England for 2015-16. A breakdown of this spending and further links to more detailed reports can be found on their website.

In the run up to the election (only 41 days, folks!) we will be providing further updates on a fortnightly basis in our Prime HE News Highlights – stay in the loop by subscribing to our blog.

We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @HobsonsEMEA or visit our website to get in touch.

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