UKCGE Chair Reviews 9 years of sweeping changes’

In an article for the Times Higher Professor Mick Fuller, outgoing UKCGE chair looks back at the changes he has witnessed across the postgraduate sector during his time on the Council’s Executive Committee. 

UKCGE Chair Reviews 9 years of sweeping changes’


Preparing to step-down at the 2015 UKCGE Annual Conference, Professor Fuller has expressed disappointment over the recent lack of joined-up policy for postgraduate provision. 

He said that announcements for a loans scheme for postgraduate taught and PhD students made in the Autumn Statement and the Budget – the consultations for which end this week – lacked enough detail to make it possible to judge how the policy is going to work.

“[They] sound like soundbites to win an election rather than a true higher education policy,” he told Times Higher Education. That is what disappoints me as there doesn’t seem to be a big joined-up comprehensive…policy.”

Professor Fuller, who is also head of the graduate school at Plymouth University, said he hoped that now that the general election and its associated change paralysis” was over, policymakers would have a chance to reflect on how best to move forwards with postgraduate funding.

(In a closing remark in the article) Professor Fuller said he is also suspicious” about one aspect that lies ahead for postgraduate research: chancellor George Osborne’s PhD loan system, which offers students the chance to borrow up to £25,000.

I am a bit worried as to what is going to come out of the current discussion and the Paul Nurse investigation of the research councils, whether the dual-funding system [for PhDs] will be scrapped or whether it will be completely reviewed,” he said.

Twenty-five thousand pounds for a PhD doesn’t even scratch the surface. It takes £75,000 to study for a PhD,” he said.

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