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


In recent years, HEPI has produced around 20 reports a year. They are all available free of charge here on our website and are generally also available in hard copy from the HEPI office. (The version on the website should be regarded as the version of record.)

  • Reforming the UCAS personal statement: Making the case for a series of short questions

    24 November 2022 by Tom Fryer, Steve Westlake and Steven Jones

    The UCAS personal statement is a 4,000 character and 47-line essay that each applicant submits when applying for UK undergraduate programmes. This paper begins by looking at the limited existing literature on UCAS personal statements before presenting some new analysis of applicants’ draft personal statements. The authors conclude that, in…

  • Student belonging and the wider context

    17 November 2022 by Dr Richard Vytniorgu

    Student belonging and the wider context by Dr Richard Vytniorgu, uses structured interviews with students to explore the sense of belonging among students.

  • Opportunities to improve university governance in England

    10 November 2022 by Dr Alison Wheaton

    In this HEPI report, Alison Wheaton presents new research into English university governance. The report sets out key findings with regard to how English university governors perceive their roles, the influences on those perceptions and the opportunities created to enhance university self-governance. Examples of good practice arising from the research…

  • Research Leadership Matters: Agility, Alignment, Ambition

    3 November 2022 by Professor Matthew Flinders

    Research leadership is not a common topic of discussion. It should be. Research leadership matters. It drives, sustains, supports, protects and inspires people. It is connective and catalysing. This matters because without it, increasing public investment in research and development is unlikely to fulfil its potential in terms of both…

  • No Platform: Speaker Events at University Debating Unions

    13 October 2022 by Josh Freeman

    This report analyses the state of debate on UK university campuses, with particular reference to student debating societies. It finds existing problems include a lot of ‘quiet’ no-platforming, meaning students are put off from inviting external speakers by the hassle, cost and risk of controversy. While rejecting the idea that…

  • Plan B research funding: Turning adversity into opportunity

    29 September 2022 by Marco Cavallaro

    In Horizon Europe and Plan B research funding: Turning adversity into opportunity (HEPI Policy Note 38), Marco Cavallaro of the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland argues full association with Horizon Europe remains preferable but provides a checklist for making Plan B work, including: incentivising the participation of less well-resourced UK universities in European research…

  • Thirty years on: Leadership convergence between newer and older universities

    22 September 2022 by Rohan Selva-Radov

    In May 2022, HEPI published Policy Note 34, Digging in? The changing tenure of UK vice-chancellors, measuring the lengths of tenure of vice-chancellors at long-standing UK universities. The year 2022 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the passage of the Further and Higher Education Act (1992), which granted university status to then…

  • Research Evaluation: Past, present and future

    1 September 2022 by Dr Laura Brassington (editor)

    On the back of REF 2021, this collection brings together a wide range of authors to consider what has worked well in evaluation of UK research, what could have worked better and where we should go from here. The collection has been edited by Dr Laura Brassington and the chapters…