Research England hears from senior higher education figures about challenges and opportunities

Research England hears from senior higher education figures about challenges and opportunities

20 February 2019

More than one hundred and fifty key figures, representing ninety-seven English universities, will come together today (20 February 2019) to tell Research England about the challenges and opportunities they face in a shifting political and social landscape.

Attendees at Research England’s Engagement Forum in Birmingham, including Vice-Chancellors and Pro-Vice-Chancellors from England’s top research universities, will discuss and debate key issues with senior management and executives from Research England and its parent organisation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Topics will include:

  • how universities engage with business and deliver for the economy
  • the role of universities in responding to global challenges, as well as shaping local and regional agendas
  • the opportunities and challenges associated with working in partnership
  • live policy developments, including the fees and funding context for higher education.

Executive Chair of Research England, David Sweeney, said:

“I’m pleased to welcome so many people from the higher education sector today for our third Engagement Forum.

“Universities play a vitally important role in society and for the economy. Events like this provide an opportunity to explore how we can best support universities in delivering on their varied societal responsibilities.

“To address social, cultural, economic, and place agendas, Research England will continue building effective partnerships with universities to deliver across that diverse set of agendas.”

Other speakers at the event will include: Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business' (NCUB), Joe Marshall; Head of Regional Engagement at Innovate UK, Dean Cook; Universities UK International’s (UUKi) Director, Vivienne Stern; Deputy Director of Community Engagement at UKRI, Fiona Armstrong; and Head of European Funding Policy at UKRI, Gavin Salisbury.

Notes from the discussions and a report detailing the outcomes of the event will be available after the event on the Research England website.

Research England hosts regular Engagement Forums as part of its work to engage with higher education institutions, which also includes a variety of other engagement between Research England’s institutional engagement managers and its senior executive team.

Research England’s engagement with the sector helps it to understand the outcomes that its funding and policy choices are delivering, opportunities and challenges the sector faces, and institutional strategy, capability and capacity across the English university system.

This intelligence helps to inform Research England’s funding streams and policy development, supporting its mission to shape healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities, and also helps to inform UKRI more widely and the government.

The next Engagement Forum will be in September 2019. More information about the next event will be available closer to the time.


  1. Research England is a public body that shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in universities. It distributes over £2.2bn every year to universities, primarily in England but also in the rest of the UK; it works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and it supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. Research England is part of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK.
  2. More information about our institutional engagement and a list of institutional engagement managers.