"The postgraduate system in the UK's universities is failing to produce the number of highly skilled staff needed by a modern economy, a report warns.
The Higher Education Commission says the system is geared towards attracting overseas students, rather than training more UK students.
The report warns that the UK is falling behind in investing in research.
A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokeswoman said: 'We recognise there are some concerns.'
The study from the Higher Education Commission calls for urgent reform of the postgraduate sector, saying that in its present state it will cause long-term problems for the UK's economy.
Postgraduate research has become increasingly important for innovative, hi-tech industries."
(Sean Coughlan, 23 October 2012, BBC News)
"Unistats lets you search, review and compare official information about universities and colleges in the UK, and the subjects they offer. It includes results from the National Student Survey – where more than 220,000 students give their views about the quality of their higher education experience. ...
HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England)¹ owns the Unistats websites and has contracted UCAS to manage the delivery and maintenance of these websites on its behalf."
"A leading scientist has attacked the government for funding students doing 'Mickey Mouse' degrees - and called for the money to be spent on science instead.
Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said degrees in celebrity journalism, drama combined with waste management, and international football business management - all of which exist - should be 'kicked into touch'.
Funds for the courses should be channelled into science degrees and research. ...
Pike said degree courses should reflect the challenges the country will face in the future, rather than an 'ephemeral demand that in 10 years' time will be viewed as a curiosity'. ...
'Funding for the sciences should be ringfenced so that, in effect, it becomes a more dominant component. This is not a question of pleading a special case. Such a move is essential if we are all to enjoy the lifestyle we have become accustomed to, and ensure that we are prepared for the changes that will affect us all in the future.
'We need a population with an enduring set of skills, such as an understanding of the physical world around us, literacy and communication, numeracy, and how to function and continue to learn in a complex society.'"
(Jessica Shepherd, 10 February 2010, guardian.co.uk)
[While Dr Richard Pike is making a noble effort -it is a vain one. His plea is a naive attempt to stall the advancement of regionalising discourses (Bernstein 2000, p.52) as they continue to undermine the authority of the strong classification principles (Bernstein 2000, p.99) of the traditional European Enlightenment university disciplinary model (Nussbaum 1997; Weeks and Glyer 1998). His comments fail to recognise dramatic global technological and sociological changes (Beck, Giddens et al. 1994) which have accelerated the pace of change and whose needs steadily diminish the relevance and potency of traditional scholarly insight.
Beck, U., A. Giddens, et al. (1994). Reflexive Modernization Politics Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order. Stanford California, Stanford University Press.
Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity Theory Research Critique. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered Priorities Of The Professoriate. Scholarship Reconsidered Priorities Of The Professoriate. New York, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: 15-16.
Nussbaum, M. (1997). Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.
Weeks, D. L. and D. Glyer (1998). The Liberal Arts in Higher Education. Challenging Assumptions Exploring Possibilities. Lanham, Maryland, University Press of America.]
"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research - set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework - have sparked more than a few rows.
Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...
Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.
The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...
Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.
However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences - important as this is.
Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics - medics are a classic example - are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co-producing new knowledge.
This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' - indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."
(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)
"The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). In previous years, research quality has been assessed periodically through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
We are currently consulting on proposals for the new framework. We will issue guidance on the REF in 2010 after completing the consultation. The first REF exercise is due to be completed in 2013.
We are working in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), and with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the new framework. Representatives of the four funding councils sit on a steering group which oversees its development.
The REF will focus on three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence. These are:
* Outputs: The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds. This will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data are available (for example, in medicine and science).
* Impact: Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers build on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Impacts will be assessed through a case-study approach that will be tested in a pilot exercise.
* Environment: The REF will take account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application."
(Higher Education Funding Council for England)