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Higher Education

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many expressions of interest have been made to the Higher Education Funding Council for England for new higher education centres under the Department's University Challenge initiative; and what the timetable is for assessing such bids. (227430)

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is still in the process of analysing the responses to its consultation paper on our new “University Challenge” policy. After the consultation period ends, the council will conclude that analysis, which will also cover any expressions of interest. However, the consultation document made clear that there is not a fixed bidding timetable. Rather, HEFCE can receive proposals at any time, and there is an ongoing approval process. The council’s regional teams are already working with a number of institutions in the early stages of developing proposals. Local authorities and other bodies which wish to be involved with the development of new HE centres will need to develop links with a local educational partner and at least one higher education institution.