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News 2014

  • Quality Assessment Review Steering Group
  • Date:  28 October 2014
  • A Quality Assessment Review Steering Group has been established to lead and shape the debate about how best quality assessment in higher education in Wales, England and Northern Ireland should be conducted in the future.

    The Steering group comprises representatives from the HE sector including the National Union of Students.

  • More
  • Quality assessment in UK higher education
  • Date:  07 October 2014
  • The higher education (HE) funding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are to seek views on future approaches to the assessment of quality in higher education.

    Based on feedback received, we will then invite tenders for future quality assessment arrangements under a joint procurement exercise.

    We expect any new arrangements to operate from September 2017.

  • More
  • UK Research Partnership Investment Fund 2016-17
  • Date:  02 September 2014
  • The UK higher education funding bodies have launched a further round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF).

    UKRPIF provides funding for capital investment in major new research facilities in universities which have a significant track record of research excellence. A further £100 million is available through the new round of the scheme. The minimum award from the fund will be £10 million per project and the maximum £35 million. As in previous rounds, there is a requirement for substantial co-funding from private sources. Full information is available on the HEFCE website.

    The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is noon on Friday, 10 October 2014.

  • UKIERI bids
  • Date:  20 August 2014
  • The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) is seeking bids for research partnerships and collaborations between institutions, PhD students and post-docs in the UK and India.

    The closing date is 15 September 2014.


  • Universities and colleges have fee plans approved for 2015/16
  • Date:  31 July 2014
  • 11 universities and colleges have had their fee plans approved by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and can charge their chosen fee levels for undergraduate courses from the 2015/16 academic year.

    Around a third of the new income from higher fees is put towards widening access and promoting higher education.

    All 11 institutions – 8 universities and three further education colleges – plan to charge students on full-time undergraduate and PGCE courses between £4,000 and £9,000 a year.

    All institutions were required to involve their student unions in finalising their plan.

    Copies of fee plans and details of the fees levels and ranges can be obtained from the institutions themselves.

    They will be linked from HEFCW’s website / about higher education in Wales / studying in higher education / full-time undergraduate fees from 2012 as they become available on institutions’ websites.

  • HEFCW re-appointments
  • Date:  29 July 2014
  • Professor Katherine Oglesby and Dame Alexandra Burslem have been re-appointed as members of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales for a third three-year term from 1 December 2014.

    Education and Skills Minister Huw Lewis said: "Professor Oglesby and Dame Alexandra Burslem have brought to HEFCW substantial experience and knowledge of the sector and I welcome their reappointment. I greatly value the support of the Funding Council and its members as we drive forward our ambitions for higher education in Wales."

  • Major study shows UK university students have become more satisfied over time
  • Date:  3 July 2014
  • The first large-scale analysis of the National Student Survey (NSS) has looked at trends in the responses of more than 2 million final-year students over nine years. The study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the UK higher education funding bodies, including HEFCW, shows that overall student satisfaction has increased, but there is considerable variation between subjects of study, and between different student characteristics such as ethnicity.

    The study findings are published alongside an independent report on the purpose and effectiveness of the NSS, which concludes that the NSS remains a valued, valid and reliable tool to inform student choice and enhance the quality of teaching. It makes a number of recommendations for developing the survey which will be considered, with a view to introducing a revised NSS by 2017.

  • Vacancy on HEFCW’s Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee
  • Date:  16 May 2014
  • We are currently inviting applications to fill the following vacancies on our Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee:
  • • A business sector representative from a large company/anchor company
  • • A business sector representative from a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME)
  • • A member of academic staff with a strong track record of involvement in innovation and engagement activities, together with an interest in higher education policy. The Committee’s membership already includes representation in this area at Pro Vice-Chancellor level, and so this appointment is likely to be at a more operational level.
  • The Committee’s principal role is to advise HEFCW’s Council on strategies for research, innovation and engagement, and to act as a source of, and sounding board for, new ideas and approaches. It usually meets twice a year in Cardiff.
  • The appointments will be made on merit and expertise, and taking account of the needs for diversity of membership. In the case of the academic member, we will also have regard to the spread of institutional representation on the committee. The positions are unpaid and fixed term (up to three years).
  • If you require any further information, please contact Linda Tiller (029 2068 2228) or Tove Oliver (029 2068 2264), Joint Committee Secretaries.
  • To apply for any of these positions on the Research, Innovation and Engagement Committee, please complete the attached form and provide a copy of your CV. Completed applications should be emailed to Linda Tiller by 13 June 2014.
  • Further information about the Research Innovation and Engagement Committee.
  • Application form
  • Review of Intellectual Property (IP) activities
  • Date:  15 May 2014
  • The Welsh Government has appointed Innovas Consulting to carry out a review of Intellectual Property (IP) activities in Wales, within the context of broader support for innovation and research and development (R&D) among universities, businesses and in the NHS. HEFCW is represented on the steering group set up to oversee this work.
  • This review is an important piece of work. Its findings will be used to inform the future strategic direction of Welsh Government support for innovation, R&D and IP in the academic base and the potential scale and scope of support available.
  • As one of the elements of the review, we have asked Innovas to explore with our universities their approaches and activities in relation to IP commercialisation. Innovas has developed a web survey in order to capture individual perceptions and experiences of IP commercialisation. The survey can be accessed via the link below. We strongly encourage academic staff to take part in this web survey, as this is a key opportunity to influence the findings of the review. The survey will remain open until 5pm Friday 13 June.
  • Academic IP survey
  • New Chair of HEFCW
  • Date:  10 April 2014
  • David Allen OBE has been appointed the new chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.
  • Education and Skills Minister Huw Lewis, who made the appointment, said: "I am confident that David will provide the strategic vision and leadership needed to ensure that HEFCW continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Welsh higher education.
  • "HEFCW has helped to implement fundamental changes to the way in which higher education (HE) sector is funded in Wales over the last couple of years and new legislation is planned later this year which will have a significant impact on the role of the Funding Council itself.
  • "I look forward to working with David in making these changes to strengthen the HE sector in Wales."
  • David has wide experience of higher education and Wales. He was previously Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter and is currently a member of the HEFCW Council.
  • He takes up his new role from the start of May 2014.
  • More about David Allen
  • Providing information about higher education (HE): how students use information
  • Date:  07 April 2014
  • A report has been published following a review of how prospective students use information to decide whether to study at higher education, what to study and where to study.
  • It considers how information is used, and behaviours around seeking and using information.
  • The UK higher education funding bodies are currently reviewing the provision of information about HE and how this can be improved. This report, which was produced by CFE Research, will inform the review into providing information for students. This is set to conclude in 2015 and includes a review of current tools such as the National Student Survey and Unistats.
  • Information about higher education is intended to support prospective students when they make decisions about their future studies.
  • The study found that:
  • • The decision-making process is complex, personal and nuanced, involving different types of information, messengers and influences over a long time. This challenges the common assumption that people primarily make objective choices following a systematic analysis of all the information available to them at one time.
  • • Greater amounts of information do not necessarily mean that people will be better informed or be able to make better decisions.
  • More
  • Nominations to HEFCW’s Student Experience, Teaching and Quality Committee
  • Date:  26 February 2014
  • We currently have a vacancy for the South West Wales institutional representative on HEFCW’s Student Experience, Teaching and Quality Committee (SETQC).
  • The successful nominee should hold a senior post within a higher education institution in the South West Wales region and be able to contribute at a strategic level to the discussions of the Committee.
  • We would particularly welcome nominees with experience in quality assurance and enhancement. We are also interested in nominees with strategic experience in learning and teaching in higher education, skills and employability, widening access, initial teacher training, and Welsh medium provision.
  • Individual staff members from institutions are invited to submit applications and invitations for Vice-Chancellors to make up to two nominations for consideration by HEFCW have also been sent.
  • It is important that we have a spread of institutional and geographic representation on the Committee, as well as take account of the need for diversity of membership. We will retain nominations for a period of one year, to be used should further vacancies on relevant HEFCW committees or sub-groups arise in the short term.
  • All applications must be submitted to Cliona O'Neill by Friday, 28 March 2014, using the attached application form.
  • Terms of reference
  • Application form
  • Wales punches above its weight in terms of research outputs, efficiency and impact
  • Date:  12 February 2014
  • Wales’s use of research inputs is highly productive and efficient, outranking most comparator countries of a similar size, according to an independent report launched in the Senedd on 6 February.
  • Commissioned by the Welsh Government, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Welsh universities, the ‘International Comparative Performance of the Welsh Research Base 2013’, carried out by Elsevier, examined the research base of universities, research institutes, industry and the NHS in Wales and compared their publication rates and impacts with competitor countries in order to demonstrate the benefits and return of public investment in university research.
  • Professor Colin Riordan, Chair of Higher Education Wales, said: "Our universities continue to be central to the nation’s development, powering the economy through world class research, job creation and ground breaking innovation."
  • Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: "The report should give institutions and their partners confidence in the expertise and abilities of the Welsh research base, and underlines the importance of continued investment in our institutions."
  • Full press statement
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