After a major clear-out of David Cameron’s Cabinet team, Theresa May has kept some continuity for higher education by reassigning Jo Johnson to the universities and science brief.
Johnson, who announced his reappointment on Twitter last night, said he was “delighted”, adding that there was “important work ahead: ensuring UK leadership in research and innovation and promoting teaching excellence, social mobility and choice in HE”.
In a change under May, the oversight of universities and science policy has been split between two departments.
Whereas before it sat solely in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, it is now divided between the Department for Education, which is responsible for higher education, and the new Department for Businesss, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which will oversee research.
Unusually for a minister, Johnson will span both departments in his role.
His appointment was described as “very good news” on Twitter by Brian Cox, professor of physics at the University of Manchester, while Max Lu, vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey, tweeted that “the sector are delighted to have your strong leadership”.
Others who oppose Johnson’s reforms, including plans for the teaching excellence framework, may be less enthusiastic, with the second reading of the higher education bill due to take place on Tuesday.
The Cabinet restructure means Johnson will work with Justine Greening at the DfE and Greg Clark at BEIS.