The Office for Students (OfS) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have signed a collaboration agreement confirming how the two organisations work together on shared priorities across research and teaching.
Collaborative working on these priorities will ensure a coordinated and strategic approach to the funding and regulation of the higher education system in England.
The agreement will allow the different funding and regulatory systems in both organisations to support and enhance the immense value universities in England generate for individuals, for cities and regions, and for our economy and society nationally and globally.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education identified several strategic areas for cooperation between UKRI and OfS during the passage of the Higher Education Research Act 2017 (HERA). These include:
- the skills and talent pipeline
- knowledge exchange
- infrastructure funding
- the financial sustainability of higher education providers
- accountability and assurance
- evidence gathering
- the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
- the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)
- the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).
UKRI will not only rely on the OfS’s regulation of English higher education providers receiving research funding from Research England, but it will be dependent on the judgements and decisions the OfS will make as a regulator of providers in England.
Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport, said:
‘This agreement emphasises how UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students will work together to ensure the UK’s higher education sector continues to have a world-leading role in teaching, research and innovation. The teaching and research work undertaken at the UK’s universities are entirely complementary. Research informs education and vice versa. A vital activity of universities is knowledge exchange with wider society and the economy.’
Chief Executive of the Office for Students, Nicola Dandridge, said:
‘Teaching and research go hand in hand in our world leading universities. So I look forward to working with UK Research and Innovation on our many shared priorities. By taking a joined-up approach, we can continue to strengthen the crucial role higher education plays in boosting skills, supporting the economy and enhancing individuals’ lives.’