Time bomb with a longer fuse

March 3, 2000

The forces arrayed against the top-up fee advocates are great and not without clout ("No 10 backs Russell elite's freedom fight", THES, February 25). They must, however, not win the day if the United Kingdom is to play a world-leading research and teaching role.

There are benefits for all.

Top research departments, wherever they are, must be free to compete against the Harvards and MITs of the world. The money that can be saved from the public purse through fee income can be used to support departments that are not internationally competitive but do an outstanding job.

A needs-blind admissions process will ensure that students of all socioeconomic classes will not be disadvantaged. The new system will mean access to the best education and research opportunities in the world.

Many staff do not expect City-like salaries. However, as The THES shows, they would like more competitive salaries. My first PhD student graduated late last year and is already earning more than me. His salary will be almost double mine in two years, and I shall never reach his unless I become a very senior figure in the sector or leave. Low academic salaries mean PhD stipends are near ridiculous. In chemical engineering we are finding it difficult to recruit UK students. This cannot be a good thing.

Mark Biggs Department of chemical and process engineering, University of Surrey.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns