Postgraduate review published

31 March 2010

The Russell Group of 20 research-intensive universities has welcomed the publication of One Step Beyond: Making the most of Postgraduate Education, the review of postgraduate provision headed by Professor Adrian Smith.

Director General, Dr Wendy Piatt, said, "We are pleased that this comprehensive review paints a positive picture of the UK’s diverse portfolio of postgraduate education and highlights the many benefits and skills that postgraduate education can provide.  We particularly welcome the recognition placed on maintaining UK competitiveness in the international market for the brightest talent.”

On the funding of postgraduate education

The Review recommends that HEFCE should consider how future allocations of the research degree supervision grant be linked more explicitly to research quality and that to get the best value from limited resources public funding should be targeted in areas of excellence.  

Says Dr Wendy Piatt, “We particularly welcome the fact that the Review recognises that “the ability to produce excellent research is highly dependent on there being a critical mass of research capability,” and that by targeting funding in areas of excellence, the experience of students will benefit substantially from being part of this critical mass.  
 
"Current economic conditions being what they are, we endorse the view that available funding should be targeted at those institutions most capable of delivering the very best research and postgraduate provision.  

“High-quality research doctoral programmes are characterised by opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers and other postgraduate students, for workplace experience, and high-quality transferable skills training.

“The Review itself highlights University College London, a Russell Group university that co- hosts the UK Doctoral Training Centre in Energy Demand Reduction and the Built Environment.  The Centre will train the next generation of energy researchers and has the support of many industry and international partners.  We welcome the Review’s recommendation that HEIs should work together with the Research Councils to develop more multi-disciplinary Doctoral Training Centres like this example.”  

On support for international researchers

Dr Wendy Piatt said, “Just when we need an increasingly skilled and highly-qualified workforce, we are losing talented UK and overseas researchers to US universities and other international institutions that can offer greater and more easily accessible financial support. Attracting the brightest postgraduates from all over the world brings a huge range of benefits to the UK economy and quality of life, not least because they are often a vital member of a  team producing ground-breaking research. We therefore welcome the report’s recommendation for making more flexible use of available funding as well as tackling any unintended barriers to entry into the UK by legitimate international postgraduate students. 

The recent announcement by BIS of a new Newton Scholarship scheme to support the world’s best research students to study in the UK was a welcome step as is the Review’s recommendation that more should be done to open up postgraduate research studentships to international students.  Being able to offer support to the most able candidates on merit and unrestricted by their country of origin can only benefit the UK’s research efforts and international collaborations.”

Submission to the Smith review of postgraduate provision

Policy area

Related case studies