A mere letter?

February 16, 2017

At its final session in committee on the Higher Education and Research Bill on 30 January, the House of Lords debated amendments on the proposals for UK Research and Innovation. Lord Prior, only a few weeks into his appointment as parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, had to promise the Lords a “letter” on numerous technical points raised. His letter, dated 8 February, has now been deposited in the House of Lords library.

It covers a number of practical matters raised by various peers. Will the committees to be heirs of the present research councils be free to form their own partnerships? UKRI “will adhere to the core principle of subsidiarity” although “legal agreements will be with UKRI”. Will Innovate UK have its own budget within UKRI? Budgeting to replace the present combination of block grant for infrastructure and separate project funding will have to come out of a single annual sum. Will some of this now go to Innovate UK? Yes, Innovate UK will be “retaining its separate budget”.

UKRI will take the lead on “knowledge exchange”, and funding arrangements for Higher Education Innovation Funding will continue to stretch across both teaching and research. There will therefore have to be “joint discussion” between UKRI and the Office for Students about “strategic objectives and the criteria for HEIF funding”.

Will the funding available for university research have to stretch to cover research entities that are directly funded by government? UKRI will be asked “to conduct a review of eligibility criteria”.

Where will powers lie to employ staff? Councils (committees) will have “powers” to appoint a small number of key individuals acting as subject-matter specialists within councils and their institutes.

These are not minor matters and it seems a pity that this information should be buried in a mere “letter”. It may be found online but not directly linked to Hansard.

G. R. Evans
Oxford


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

PhD Scholar in Medicine

University Of Queensland

Manager, Research Systems and Performance

Auckland University Of Technology

Lecturer in Aboriginal Allied Health

University Of South Australia

Lecturer, School of Nursing & Midwifery

Western Sydney University

College General Manager, SHE

La Trobe University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham