Hopkin vows to focus on teaching

February 22, 2002

South Bank University will scale back on research so it can concentrate on teaching, writes Alison Goddard.

Vice-chancellor Deian Hopkin will no longer allow teaching to subsidise research. Combined with the funding council's decision to cut money going to lower-rated departments, the change will put researchers at South Bank under further pressure.

Professor Hopkin said: "The teaching budget will go on teaching. We have to be much more transparent about where the research money comes from."

The decision is part of an action plan devised by Professor Hopkin to bring the university out of special measures. It is one of six institutions that the funding council placed under emergency supervision after it failed to recruit enough students.

Last year, it faced a funding gap of £3.7 million. The university will also have money withheld from its teaching grant next year after it underrecruited again.

Professor Hopkin said: "We have made great investment in research. Half our staff are in departments rated 4 or above. But funding is going down. South Bank University is a teaching university where the student experience is the top priority."

He said research would "focus on those areas that contribute to the mission and underpin the range of undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience teaching". It will be grouped into larger-scale research institutes "to maximise the impact of its researchers".

Professor Hopkin plans to drop courses that are unpopular. Further job losses are expected as a result.

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