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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.


  • Learning from other sectors: using the right end of the telescope!

    1 March 2016

    Our latest guest blog has been kindly contributed by Fiona Ross, Director of Research at the Leadership Foundation, who has a part-time Chair at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, where she was formerly Dean of the Joint Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. I was excited to see…

  • Teaching Excellence: a quality foundation

    25 February 2016 by Douglas Blackstock

    This guest blog, responding to HEPI’s newest publication (Designing a Teaching Excellence Framework: Lessons from other sectors by Louisa Darian) has been kindly contributed by Douglas Blackstock, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Last week the Executive Director of the Finnish quality agency told a meeting in Glasgow…

  • Professor Rob Ford’s presentation on the EU referendum

    23 February 2016

    This morning, HEPI and the HEA jointly hosted a seminar at the House of Commons on the forthcoming referendum on the United Kingdom’s place in the European Union and what it means for higher education, with platform speeches from Professor Anton Muscatelli (Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow), Professor…

  • Governance in Higher Education: Don’t Panic

    8 February 2016

    This guest blog has been kindly contributed by John Rushforth (, who is part-time Secretary to the Committee of University Chairs and formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of England. We live in uncertain times, but universities are complex global enterprises and change is inevitable. One theme of recent years is increasing expectations…

  • Why are EU student numbers growing so fast?

    4 February 2016

    The new UCAS figures on applications to higher education are ‘the first reliable indicator of demand for UK higher education this cycle.’ The main headline is one of broad stability: UK applicant numbers (495,940) have decreased slightly (-0.3%), due to fewer English applicants (-1%) mostly aged between 20 and 34. The number of applicants from…

  • BIS to erase its institutional memory on higher education?

    30 January 2016

    The single most frustrating thing about working in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which looks after higher education policy, is the lack of institutional memory. The surest way for a BIS official to be promoted is to change jobs as frequently as possible. This matters for good policymaking. For example,…

  • The role of a think tank on the TEF

    27 January 2016

    The biggest joy I experienced on becoming the Director of an independent think tank two years ago, after a decade working for a political party, was the freedom to follow the evidence. People condemn politicians for not listening ‘to the experts’, but the job of our elected representatives is to…

  • Sharia-compliant student loans: the perspective from Australia

    25 January 2016 by Conor King

    This week’s guest blog comes from Conor King, Executive Director of Innovative Research Universities, which is an Australian ‘network of six comprehensive universities conducting research of national and international standing.’ Conor looks at one long-standing commitment of the UK Government, which was repeated in the recent higher education green paper: to introduce Sharia-compliant student loans. He builds…