Sweeteners that could be paid to graduate recruits from the public purse are to come under scrutiny in a review led by Sir Alan Langlands, principal and vice-chancellor of Dundee University.
The Langlands review - a concession from the government won by Nick Brown, former chief whip, during the higher education bill debate - will consider how the government might use bursaries, loan write-offs and golden hellos to increase recruitment to medicine, teaching and social care professions.
Charles Clarke, the education secretary, has asked Sir Alan to consider how the private sector in the UK and overseas recruits graduates, in particular in law and engineering. The review - "Gateways to the professions" - will look at the financial help that could be offered to students who will not qualify for financial support for their tuition fees from 2006. Work on the review would start once the bill had received royal assent, Mr Clarke said, and the report was expected next year.
Sir Alan, who is chairman of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the UK Biobank, was chief executive of the National Health Service in England from 1994 to 2000. He used a speech at Warwick University in October 1997 to defend the stability of the model of the NHS over the past 50 years. He said it had the "ability to adapt and deal with countless pressures".
Sir Alan also called for reform of the welfare system, saying it was time for a "new deal between the citizen and the government and society... encouraging work and responsibility, not dependency".
At Dundee, Sir Alan instituted "discovery days" where new professors were asked to give a 15-minute inaugural lecture to outline their research to students.
He was knighted in the 1998 Queen's birthday honours for services to the NHS.
Since August 2003, Sir Alan has served as convener of the Universities Scotland Funding Policy Group.