HESA and Jisc eye merger to create data-digi superpower

Early stage conversations could see combination force in digitally-enabled, data-led higher education

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and Jisc could join forces to create a consolidated agency for data-led, digitally-enabled higher education.

The two organisations plan to combine their respective strengths to offer a united service for managing subscriptions and improving HE impact in the UK.

A statement from Jisc said that conversations were at an early stage, with many details to work through. It said: “This includes consulting with key stakeholders, assessing what it means in reality for each organisation and, above all, ensuring the status of HESA as the designated data body is protected.

“HESA and Jisc have a long-standing and successful relationship, having developed services such as Heidi Plus to deliver business intelligence for HE providers, public sector and charities.”

HESA chief executive Paul Clark said: “I believe that UK HE has the potential to enhance its global position through the effective use of digital and data-driven enhancements. Building on our existing work with Jisc, this closer integration will be the first step in realising these ambitions.”

Jisc chief executive Paul Feldman said: “Jisc’s vision is for a digitally advanced lifelong learning nation, transformed by technology. The availability and use of data is critical to realising this, so integration with HESA offers greater potential to create and innovate together as well as deliver an even stronger offer and better value for our members. Among potential benefits could be new data insights and sector performance diagnostics.”

The 2017 Bell Review recommended sector agency consolidation to save cost. Together HESA and Jisc plan to offer expertise in the collection, analysis and use of data.