Letter to the Times

A letter from Chief Executive Vanessa Wilson has been published in The Times, responding to a recent article which argued that ‘Britain needs more second class universities’.


Sir, I disagree with Emma Duncan’s assessment (Comment, Jul 9) that the country is lacking in “second-class” universities. While I take issue with the term for its derogative undertones, the strength of our higher-education system is in its diversity. The 12 professional, technical institutions within University Alliance deliver the skills, applied research and industry-responsive provision needed to increase productivity and level up across the country. By translating research into practical application and commercialising findings, these bring jobs and prosperity to their regions and communities, and solutions to benefit industry and society. Think hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being designed and built by Coventry University, or Teesside University’s manufacture of the Novavax vaccine.

Duncan rightly calls for greater regional distribution of research funding. The greatest hope for driving regional regeneration through research and development is via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which is intended to replace EU structural funding, but we urgently need answers on how it will work.

Vanessa Wilson

Chief executive, University Alliance

This letter first appeared in the Times, on 13 July 2021.

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