The funding and policy environment in UK higher education faces many uncertainties and is likely to change markedly in the next two or three years. The Government’s post-18 funding review and related political considerations could still lead to significant reductions in fees for home undergraduates; access to research funding is likely to be more competitive, with a higher proportion of funding concentrated in fewer universities and directed towards challenge led research and questions of national productivity; and pension costs for employers and employees will increase significantly. Universities are also likely to face challenges from Brexit and changes in immigration policy. There are also clear signs that the burden of regulation is increasing, with risks to the autonomy of universities. The pace of change is equally fast and challenging at the heart of universities. Students, staff, employers and research partners rightly have high expectations of the place of universities in the economy and society, the important contributions we make to science, innovation and the cultural and creative economy, and our environmental responsibilities. As universities shape their future strategies, they need to take account of these internal and external challenges, ensuring academic and financial sustainability and redefining the place of universities in our cultural, social and economic life. This seminar will review this territory, draw on the experience of participants and consider the implications and leadership challenges for both international and UK colleagues.
Sir Alan Langlands is the twelfth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. Before joining the University, he was the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Vice Chancellor of the University of Dundee and Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS) in England. He chaired the board of the Health Foundation and is also a former chair of UK Biobank. Alan was knighted in 1998 for his services to the NHS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In the arts, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the Royal Northern College of Music and a Trustee of the Leeds International Piano Competition. Sir Alan has honorary doctorate from the Universities of Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India, and is a Fellow of Birkbeck, University of London. In recognition of his contributions to healthcare and professional education, he has been awarded Honorary Fellowships by the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow), the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, the Institute of Actuaries and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance.