Policy Update – January 2022

Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS, Head of Policy, Academy of Social Sciences 

Pending announcements and reviews

We are still awaiting:

  • An announcement or consultation about higher education funding and student fees (the response to Augar);
  • And the White Paper on ‘levelling up’, which will be substantively important and may also be relevant for research funding.

Other HE reviews underway are a review of UKRI;  a review of research bureaucracy; a review of REF; and a review by the Office for Students of benchmark outcome measures of student dropout rates and graduate employment outcomes.

Other policy developments

On 4th January, the UK Science Minister, George Freeman, outlined on Twitter his priorities for the year.  It’s an interesting read.  Top of the list is an agreement for the UK to join the EU’s R&D programme Horizon Europe.  That will, of course, depend on other Brexit issues being settled, but it is important, since the government’s mooted alternative global research programme will be smaller, and may be less likely to involve UK social science. Other priorities too may have implications for UK social science.

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