Recent Event - Can British Universities Keep Ahead in a Global Future?

Rt Hon David Willetts MP and Professor Lord Rees debate the impact of policy on higher education.

Wednesday 12th December

Universities Minister David Willetts has inherited and instituted a series of reforms to make higher education fiscally sustainable and institutions more accountable. The aim is to enable British universities to survive and compete in the future, to lead on research and teaching and to do so despite the grave economic and fiscal constraints faced by this country.

However, many of the country's leading academics and scholars are
concerned  at the direction of present policy. The leading position of our institutions has rested on the very freedoms now being threatened at a time when rivals, in the US or emerging economies, suffer no such constraints

On Wednesday 12th December, David Willetts debated the issues at Politeia with Martin Rees, FRS, OM, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics.

They considered whether institutions need greater freedom and focus on related issues such as:

  • To what extent does official policy for funding research help or hinder our scientists and scholars to maintain the traditional lead of UK universities ?
  • How can greater diversity be introduced into the system?
  • What can we learn from successful overseas models to ensure that university education remains available to a wide range of society?

Rt Hon David Willetts MP is Minister of State for Universities and Science. His New Year Address opened Politeia’s Higher Education
series in January 2012.

Lord Rees, FRS OM is Astronomer Royal, former President of the Royal Society (2005-10), fellow and former Master of Trinity College,
Cambridge. Politeia recently published his study, University Diversity: Freedom, Excellence and Funding for a Global Future.