The HE Global Integrated Advisory Service (HE Global), announced today by Foreign Secretary William Hague, aims to bolster the competitiveness of UK institutions in the increasingly crowded global education market.
It will collect in one place the advice and services offered by the Foreign Office, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and UK Trade & Investment as well as the British Council, making them available to universities.
It is the first time the Foreign Office has become directly involved in the expansion of UK higher education.
Colin Riodan, vice-chancellor of the University of Essex and chair of the UK Higher Education International and Europe Unit, said this was a “recognition that universities are a key element of soft power” and that they have an important role to play in diplomacy and promoting foreign trade.
He added that “there has always been a lack of coordination of the help universities can have if we want to internationalise effectively”.
HE Global seeks to rectify this by pulling together all the different strands of support and offering institutions insight into both opportunities abroad and foreign systems as well as access to finance and insurance to minimise the risk of international ventures.
David Willetts, the universities and science minister, said: “The HE Global service will ensure that our universities continue to be market-leaders providing high quality teaching and research world-wide.”