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Reforms to the UK’s higher education, research and innovation system

® Susan Chiang

08 September 2016

The Higher Education and Research Bill was introduced to the House of Commons in May (find out more about its progress through Parliament). 

It includes proposals to create a new research and innovation funding body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), as well as changes to the higher education landscape in England, as outlined in the White Paper Success as a Knowledge Economy. The White Paper and Bill, amongst other things, takes forward the recommendations on reforming the research landscape from Sir Paul Nurse’s Review of the Research Councils. The UK National Academies produced a map of the proposed changes.

The UK has an outstanding track record of excellence in research and innovation, and the Royal Society is working to ensure that the proposed reforms and changes strengthen UK research and ensure that the UK continues to be world-leading, attracting people from around the world to work, collaborate and invest. 

What is the Royal Society doing?

The White Paper and Bill reforms will be taking effect at the same time as a range of other changes to the research and higher education landscape, including the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which links higher education funding to excellence in teaching for the first time, and following the Stern Review, changes to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) which awards funding to higher education institutions. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union will also impact on UK research and innovation.

The Society is working closely with its Fellowship and the broader research and innovation community to engage with these changes.

  • UK National Academies briefing on research proposals in the Higher Education and Research Bill

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  • The Royal Society response to Lord Stern's review

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  • An overview of proposed changes to UK research

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  • The Royal Society comments on higher education white paper

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  • The Royal Society comments on appointment of chair of UK Research and Innovation

    Read more

  • Statement on changes to the research, higher education and innovation landscapes

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  • Consultation response: Stern Review of the Research Excellence Framework

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  • Consultation response: Response to Higher Education Green Paper

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  • The Royal Society comments on the Nurse review of research councils

    Read more