Mary Creagh is lecturer in enterprise at Cranfield University. She is standing in Wakefield, a seat with a fairly safe Labour majority.
"I went to Oxford University from a comprehensive so I'm delighted the Government is committed to 50 per cent participation. If we want to continue to be a world leader economically, we need people who can use their minds as well as their hands."
She admitted that tuition fees would be "a debt from Day 1 around students' necks" but believes the pay-later top-up fees will be fairer.
The next challenge for a Labour Government would be academic pay, she said. "We are committed to proper and equal funding for people in the public services."
Other Labour candidates include: Roberta Blackman-Woods , associate dean, School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University (City of Durham); Navraj Ghaleigh , lecturer in public law, Edinburgh University (Edinburgh West); Rupa Huq , education researcher, Manchester University (Chesham and Amersham); Mark Button , principal lecturer in criminal justice, Portsmouth University (Portsmouth South); John David Morgan , lecturer in law and government for Open and Leicester universities (Blaby); Richard Black , lecturer in geography and international development, Sussex University (Lewes); and Antony Bignell , management lecturer, University College, Chichester (Worthing West).
Martin Garnett , lecturer in pharmaceutics at Nottingham University, is standing for the second time in Erewash, between Nottingham and Derby, which has a Labour majority. Veritas's Robert Kilroy-Silk, once an academic himself, is also standing there.
Dr Garnett said: "We are the only party really interested in education, particularly further and higher education. It's important we get the balance right."
He added that his academic research was going well, but he would not hesitate to leave his job for Westminster.
"We need many more scientists in Parliament. I would put the case for science. This would outweigh my personal research ambitions."
Other Liberal Democrat candidates include: Ron Beadle , principal lecturer in human resource management, Northumbria University (Newcastle upon Tyne North); Simon Clark , senior lecturer in economics, Edinburgh University (Edinburgh South West); Paul Graham , lecturer in politics, Glasgow University (Glasgow North West); Richard Grayson , lecturer in British politics, Goldsmiths, University of London (Hemel Hempstead); David Howarth , fellow in law and economics, Clare College, Cambridge (Cambridge); Bob Hoyle , law academic (Bristol North West); Mike Plummer , business and management studies lecturer, Bournemouth University (Poole); Kiron Reid , lecturer in law, Liverpool University (Liverpool Walton); Tom Rippeth , lecturer in oceanography and climate change, University of Wales, Bangor (Wrexham); Andy Sloan , economics lecturer, Hull University (Hull East); and Clive Sneddon , lecturer in French, St Andrews University (Dundee East).
Ian Davison is a research fellow in medical and dental education at Birmingham University. He is standing for the Warwick and Leamington seat, which has a Labour majority but it is also a Conservative target.
"I've been involved in Green politics for 21 years, but last summer I decided progress was slow and that I should devote more time to it," he said.
Although the Green Party would not necessarily cut student numbers, Dr Davison would like more flexibility in higher education.
"For some people, university is not appropriate. We need more vocational and work-related learning, and it doesn't have to be full time."
Other Green candidates include: Andrew Dobson , professor of politics, Open University (Newcastle under Lyme); Shahrar Ali , part-time lecturer in philosophy and applied ethics, London University (Brent East); Chris Fox , reader in computer science, Essex University (North Essex); Hazel Dawe , lecturer in law, London Metropolitan University (Folkestone and Hythe); Derek Wall , economics lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London (Windsor); Martin Lucas-Smith , website developer, Cambridge University (Cambridge); Molly Scott-Cato , economics lecturer, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (Preseli Pembrokeshire); and Paul Miller , climate researcher, University College London (Regent's Park and Kensington North).
UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY
John Whittaker , visiting fellow in economics at Lancaster University Management School, is the only academic standing for the UK Independence Party. He was instrumental in writing the party's manifesto and is hoping to take Wigan, which has been Labour since 1918. He is currently an MEP for Ukip.
"There are a number of students who are disillusioned with their 'trendy'
courses. We need to look carefully at these. Once we have withdrawn funding from less appropriate courses, universities will have enough cash to spend on those that do students and the community good. We should fully fund those courses."
SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY
Duncan Ross , from the department of economic and social history at Glasgow University, is the only academic candidate contesting a seat for the Scottish National Party. Last year he stood in the European elections. Now he is contesting Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill - to the east and northeast of Glasgow - in the general election.
"I'm involved in the SNP because I believe in independence.
Independence would mean we would be better off economically and could channel more resources into higher education."
He added: "We have no plans to cut student numbers. I believe that free access to higher education is right."