Blog: GE2017 priorities

05 May 2017

Acting Director of the Russell Group Dr Tim Bradshaw blogs on what he wants to see from the major political parties at this General Election:

June 2017 is being dubbed the ‘Brexit Election’, but while Brexit does need to be front and centre of the political debate there is a lot more at stake than our future relationship with the EU.

The economy is still affected by the financial crisis of nearly a decade ago, global challenges such as climate change haven’t gone away and, perhaps more than ever, the UK’s long-term prosperity will depend on our ability to innovate, adapt and form new partnerships.

Visiting Bristol recently, I heard the university being described as a ‘portal to the rest of the world’, creating connections, driving inward investment and stimulating growth through the flow of talent and ideas. This story is replicated right across the country: the UK has a world-class higher education system and our leading universities are absolutely central to the economy and society locally, regionally and nationally.

Support for higher education will be crucial if we are to make a success of Brexit and deliver on the goals of the Industrial Strategy.

As the campaign season gets into top gear with officials in party HQs putting the finishing touches to manifestos, here are the Russell Group’s policy priorities for GE 2017:

  1.        Brexitsecure a strong outcome for universities and research, recognising the importance of mobility and multi-lateral international collaboration.
  2.        International staff and students – deliver a new visa and immigration system that supports universities to attract and retain talented staff and students from anywhere in the world.
  3.        Industrial strategy – work with our world-class universities as anchors for the economy and jobs locally, regionally and for the UK as a whole and support them to deliver growth across the country.
  4.        Science, research and innovation – commit to at least current levels of planned investment for the science budget (resource and capital) and aim to make the UK even more globally competitive.
  5.        Student experience – deliver sustainable funding for universities to provide the highest quality teaching and learning experience, in particular for high cost STEM+ subjects.

You can read a more detailed breakdown of those five priorities in our General Election briefing.  

The deadline to register to vote at this election is 22 May. You can register to vote at

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