The Woolf Inquiry

30 November 2011

Commenting on the publication of the report by Lord Woolf into LSE’s links with Libya, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group said:

“The LSE was right to commission this report and is to be commended for publishing it in its entirety.  The LSE has acknowledged that mistakes were made and has stated that it has already started to implement all Lord Woolf’s recommendations in full.

“Whilst today’s report looks only at the LSE, judgements about the acceptance of donations and choice of international partners are ones which any university takes incredibly seriously and these judgements can be very difficult.  Universities already have clear policies and processes in place for the admission and supervision of PhD students, and for the consideration of donations.  Nevertheless, all will be studying Lord Woolf’s report closely, and considering whether there are lessons they can learn from these events at the LSE. 

"However, it is also important that we do not lose sight of the huge value of international links to UK universities and the wider economy. Indeed, as the report acknowledges, “to achieve and retain their present standing, British universities have no alternative but to compete internationally for students, funding and academics from all over the world”. International students generate £6.8bn a year for the economy while UK and global philanthropic sponsorship generates a further £600m a year for our universities. International graduates of our universities frequently go on to become valuable overseas partners for UK companies and organisations. Global academic links are also essential to world-class research and the advancement of ideas. These relationships and the income they generate will be even more important in the future, but we are determined that they must be advanced in ways that fully respect the academic integrity that contributes so much to the global reputation enjoyed by our universities."

Notes to Editors

  1. BIS research paper, Estimating the Value to the UK of Education Exports (June 2011) and Ross-Case Survey 2009-10
  2. International higher education can also nurture relationships with future key global figures. For example, LSE alumni have included past presidents of the USA, India, Japan, Italy, and Prime Ministers of Israel and Canada. 
  3. International collaboration in research and innovation is essential and increasing. The proportion of UK research published with non-UK authors is far higher than most research intensive nations at 46% and rising. Internationally co-authored work is more highly cited, a sign of quality, and researchers who return to the UK after a time abroad are significantly more productive. A report for BIS found that UK researchers’ “ability to move internationally and collaborate with non-UK researchers are therefore key drivers of the UK’s leading global position” and that “the UK’s leading position in terms of research efficiency is therefore in part due to its effectiveness in attracting productive and internationally mobile researchers to the work in the UK.” International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, 2011. 

The LSE's response to the Woolf report can be viewed here.