The article on RDAs suggests that "the advantages for higher education are unclear and rather unexciting". In the Northeast the reverse is true. One of our RDA's core objectives is to "place universities and colleges at the heart of the region's economy". The RDA provides significant financial support for widening participation, attraction of overseas students, improved technology transfer and vocational training. It has engaged academics from the region's universities to advise on and help develop regional economic strategy. It also recognises - perhaps the first time this has been said explicitly in the UK - that "our universities and colleges are businesses selling education and research" and has made direct support to help universities grow a core priority.
The result is a powerful process of engagement. Universities are harnessing their combined pedagogic and research strategy to help address deep-seated regional, economic and social problems. The RDA is supporting university growth. In the Northeast the advantages of this new development that addresses the regional agenda and university growth in a positive way are clear and clearly exciting.
Kenneth Calman Vice-chancellor and warden University of Durham