University of Warwick Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Smith will be speaking at the Higher Education Futures Conference, on Wednesday 23rd June in London.
Coming just a day after the Budget, the conference will provide one of the first opportunities to explore the impact of the Government’s unfolding plans with senior figures in the higher education world and to put these developments in an international context.
Despite the increasing pressures on public sector spending Professor Smith believes that all the major UK parties understand the need to maintain a strong UK research base. In the case of this Government he points to the recent Conservative manifesto which declared that “Britain’s world-class science and engineering base will underpin a successful high-tech economy” and the Liberal Democrat manifesto which stressed that “Britain’s future depends on a vibrant research base”.
While there will inevitably be changes in how research funding is structured he believes this is likely to be built around the words used in the “Higher Ambitions” document published by BIS in 2009 which said:
“While there may in a more challenging climate for research, with tighter fiscal constraints and increased competition from other countries, we will need to carefully protect the excellence of our research base. This will require a greater focus on world-class research and greater recognition of the potential benefits of research concentration in key areas. Limited resources mean that public investment in the UK must be prioritised on strengthening research centres with world-class capability.”
Professor Smith says: “The current financial situation will mean the sector has to be imaginative in its response and explore radical options to keep the UK’s position in the premier league of World research.”
More details on the conference can be found here: