The Guardian: The excellence factor

The new secretary of state responsible for universities, Lord Mandelson, has his hands full with the cost of providing student support, the dearth of university places this summer, and planning for the review of tuition fees and the higher education framework.

And another row is brewing – between university groups over research policy and funding.

Vice-chancellors across the sector are vying for Mandelson’s ear, particularly given the squeeze on income and the rising pay and pension costs they face. The core research funding allocated to universities after December’s research assessment exercise (RAE) kicks in next month. And the funding council plans to shave 1% (of £16m) off its research budget next year.

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