Universities UK has publicly called for the incoming prime minister to support higher education.
As the Tory leadership contenders duke it out for government’s top job, the membership organisation set out five areas on which it feels the successful candidate should concentrate.
• Immigration – the removal of barriers to recruiting and retaining international students and staff.
• Student experience – including committing to promoting policies to encourage access to university and supporting student mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
• Science, research and innovation – a commitment to meeting – or beating – research and development investment targets to enable continued excellence in these fields.
• Sustainable funding – universities must have sustainable funding to continue world-class teaching, delivered in a way which supports continued student mobility across the UK. Funding cuts would negatively affect opportunity and impact all four nations of the UK and overseas.
• Brexit – an effective post-Brexit settlement must be reached, avoiding a ‘no-deal’ departure and ensuring continued partnerships and exchange between the UK and its EU partners.
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “Our universities, their students and staff are vital to the UK’s future success. Policies to support and enhance the positive impact of universities should be priorities for the next prime minister.
“With the right policies, the new prime minister will have the opportunity to drive economic growth and social mobility by supporting universities to create jobs, enhance productivity and improve lives.”
UK universities generate £95 billion for the economy and create more than 940,000 jobs across the nation.