Response to suggestions to the Times Higher Education on how research funding could change

Responding to suggestions to the Times Higher Education on how research funding could change, Libby Aston, Director of University Alliance said:

“In this challenging economic environment it is right that we all consider carefully how to make best use of the resources available to protect the future of the UK research base. It is essential, however, to base this on a full and evidence-based understanding of the relationship between excellence and ‘critical mass’.

“It is essential that we focus on quality, which means ensuring the success of all centres of excellence that are carrying out world-leading research, maintaining a business-focus, and delivering graduates and post-graduates for the new economy. Separate research undertaken for Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) further demonstrated that high quality research is in fact widely distributed across the UK higher education sector. The current system of selective funding, based on excellence alone, is proven to have driven the global reputation of UK research.”


Notes to Editors

The paper from University Alliance, ‘Concentration and Diversity: understanding the relationship between excellence, concentration and critical mass’ is available to download here.

The HEPI paper is available here.

University Alliance represents 23 major, dynamic, business-like universities at the heart of the sector that deliver world-leading research with impact and are actively business focussed.

Through evidence-based policy and research, the Alliance aims to improve policymaking in higher education to the benefit of the UK economy and society.

Alliance universities educate 27% of all UK students and achieve some of the highest graduate-level employment rates. These universities offer a research informed, academic learning environment and a culture of entrepreneurialism, equipping graduates for the 21st century.

Alliance universities:

Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Gloucestershire, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

For further information, please contact: Tim Field, University Alliance on 0203 178 7491 or email

Further reading