All universities will have a three-strand mission of teaching, research and knowledge transfer, science minister Lord Sainsbury said this week, writes Caroline Davis.
The higher education white paper called for further concentration of research funding, raising the prospect that some universities could be forced out of research.
But Lord Sainsbury told peers at the Lords' science and technology committee that while research-intensive institutions would concentrate on world-class basic research, excellent teaching and generating and exploiting intellectual property, less research-intensive institutions would also maintain all three roles.
Their research would be applied, based on technology acquired from other sources, their teaching would take a more vocational focus and their knowledge transfer would be in the form of problem-solving for local business, he said.
Lord Sainsbury assured the committee that world-class research departments would receive funding even in universities that were not distinguished in research overall.