Members of lecturers' union Natfhe this week voted overwhelmingly to accept their employers' pay offer.
The phased settlement of 3.8 per cent was endorsed by 79 per cent of voters, in line with colleagues in other higher education unions.
Natfhe had described the offer as disappointing and had put it to its members without a recommendation.
Liz Allen, universities negotiator for Natfhe, said: "Everyone is pinning their hopes on the Bett committee review. People are fed up but it seems they have decided this is really not the year to have a fight about pay."
Next year, after Sir Michael Bett's independent review committee has completed its inquiry into lecturers' pay and conditions, the future will be much clearer, she added.
Paul Mackney, Natfhe general secretary, said: "All higher education staff are holding out in the the hope that the Bett committee will finally make a difference. That will be the real watershed. Staff will not go on accepting below-inflation offers into the next millennium. If the Bett committee does not deliver, they will look to other ways to improve their pay."
The AUT has already accepted the offer. Unison has had informal consultations in which 59 per cent of those consulted voted to accept the offer. The union is now considering its formal response.
Ms Allen said that the Natfhe members had realised that if they rejected the employers' offer, they would most likely have to have taken industrial action in order to gain any hope of an improved settlement.