A Bright Future

07 September 2023

Our vision is for a healthy, green and more resilient country with a thriving innovation driven economy. A Bright Future is a Russell Group manifesto that shows how the new Government can harness the strength of research-intensive universities to make this a reality. 

Achieving this will need a renewed focus on high-level skills, harnessing new technologies effectively, and using the best research to advance healthcare innovation, tackle climate change and rejuvenate business.


Skills for the Future

The UK needs skilled graduates, postgraduates and apprentices for sustainable growth, but funding gaps due to inflation and cost-of-living pressures threaten the skills pipeline.

  • The funding universities receive for teaching must increase to reflect inflation so we can protect the quality of higher education and deliver work-ready graduates.
  • The Government can set students up for success by uplifting maintenance loans to reflect inflation and reintroducing maintenance grants for the most disadvantaged.

A Thriving Economy

Backing excellent research in UK universities can boost productivity, advance knowledge and transform our economy for the future.

  • The UK should match our international competitors by investing at least 3% of GDP in R&D by 2030.
  • A Research and Innovation Guarantee with fast-track planning and new VAT rules for research facilities with business will help build the new labs the UK needs.
  • A British Business Bank ‘Spark Fund’ and pension fund reforms will help create hundreds of new deep-tech spinouts from universities.


A Green Future

Russell Group universities are delivering green breakthroughs that can cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and help accelerate progress toward Net Zero.

  • A Green Boost to tried and tested research funding streams, along with smart regulation, proof of concept and innovative procurement opportunities will turn Net Zero ideas into reality.
  • Creating a network of Net Zero Trailblazer Universities to share best practice will help communities cut carbon emissions and discover new opportunities for green jobs.

A Healthy Future

Russell Group universities can deliver the skilled staff and new treatments the NHS needs to get waiting lists down and save lives.

  • A new medical training taskforce to oversee workforce planning will help give the NHS the skilled staff it needs.
  • A healthcare education guarantee locking in funding increases for medical training in line with inflation will help universities train more NHS professionals in the UK.
  • Working with universities, the NHS can become the world’s leading health research platform, developing more new treatments for patients.

undefinedSecuring Our Place in the World

Supporting education exports and new, secure research partnerships will bring billions of pounds to the UK every year and strengthen our competitive advantage.

  • A new 2030 International Education Strategy and supportive visa system will help bring the best global talent to the UK.
  • Association to the Horizon Europe research programme and its successors will keep us at the cutting edge in new fields and help universities bring global talent to the UK, building our leadership position in the technologies of the future.
  • A UK Research Security Fund would boost university efforts to counter foreign interference and enhance UK resilience.

Our world-class research-intensive universities are already working hard to make this vision a reality: they are delivering real and sustained impact right across the country and are keen to do even more.

The opportunity for a bright future is there to grasp, and we will partner with the next Government to deliver it.

Find out more, hear from our Chair Professor Chris Day and read the full manifesto here.

A Bright Future - Summary

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