Higher Education Green Paper



The Higher Education Green Paper, Fulfilling our potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice, was published on 6 November. Although it predominantly focuses on teaching, it does have some potential implications for research and researchers.

Specifically, Section C proposes merging HEFCE with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) to create an Office for Students.

HEFCE’s current role in allocating QR funding to institutions within the dual support system will be relocated, in all likelihood alongside the UK Research Councils. The Nurse review of the Research Councils has yet to report, and the future roles of the Research Councils may be different, but this shift in responsibilities for QR could lead to changes in the dual support system. Currently QR funding, allocated through the REF, includes the research degree programme supervision fund (RDP), which many institutions depend on to sustain their research degree programmes.

The Green Paper also highlights the administrative burden and cost of the REF and suggests using a more metrics-based approach. The measures to promote equality and diversity are noted as effective, but burdensome and should be better integrated in future exercises. A move to the greater use of data and metrics could have implications on the research environment element of REF and future focus on the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

Vitae will be responding to the consultation, which closes 15 January 2015. We will pleased to hear the views of our members on the Green Paper and the potential impact on researchers and the research environment, and reflect these in our response. Please send any comments by Friday 18 December to .