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20 September 2011

Leadership Foundation and HEFCE announce £1 million to stimulate efficiencies in higher education

The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LF) and HEFCE have today announced a £1 million Innovation and Transformation Fund. The funding, which is provided jointly by the LF and HEFCE, will fund innovative projects to improve efficiency in universities and higher education colleges over the next two years.

Today's announcement follows the publication on 15 September of a report by the Universities UK (UUK) Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group, chaired by Professor Ian Diamond. The Diamond report recognised that efficiency and effectiveness are key priorities for the UK higher education sector, and that universities must continue to demonstrate good value for money in the new funding environment.

Ewart Wooldridge, Chief Executive of the LF, said:

'At this critical stage of the transformation of UK higher education, this fund will give energy and momentum to implement the recommendations in Professor Ian Diamondís excellent report. It will stimulate projects that encourage innovation and transformational change in the sector. Such projects will focus directly on the recommendations of the UUK's Diamond report and stimulate innovation more widely. We are delighted to be making this investment jointly with HEFCE.'

Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:

'The partners in this project are pleased to be able to make this investment to support the sector through a critical period of change and help meet the Government's aim of a smooth transition to the new funding arrangements. We look forward to delivering this major fund to the sector in collaboration with the Leadership Foundation.'

Commenting on the new funding, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of UUK, said:

'Our report on efficiency and effectiveness in higher education acknowledges the efficiencies already achieved by universities, but points out that there is substantial scope to do more. It is excellent news that the Leadership Foundation and HEFCE have responded so constructively and positively in providing significant funds, which will enable the sector to take forward and implement some of these important money-saving recommendations.'


  1. Further details of the Innovation and Transformation Fund:
    • The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education serves all UK higher education institutions. This fund will provide the opportunity for projects to be supported across the UK. The fund will be seeking partnerships and projects in all the devolved administrations, each of which are facing challenges and opportunities arising from major change.
    • During the next two months, HEFCE and the Leadership Foundation, in collaboration with UUK and GuildHE, will identify the kind of projects and initiatives which will encourage such change and innovation. Universities across the UK will be given the opportunity to partner in these projects, which may well involve other organisations from sectors beyond higher education.
    • By the end of 2011 it is hoped that the focus of such projects will have been defined and initial project partnerships identified. On 25 January 2012, the Leadership Foundation and HEFCE will host a conference, Future Proofing Higher Education, which will include a major focus on this scheme and the opportunities for higher education institutions to learn more of the opportunities to participate.
    • This scheme will make funding available over the next two years. It is anticipated that it might support about 20 major projects averaging £50,000 in direct funding, in 2012 and 2013.
  2. The UUK report, 'Efficiency and effectiveness in higher education: A report by the Universities UK Efficiency and Modernisation Task Group' is available on the UUK web-site.
  3. This announcement coincides with a conference organised by UUK on Efficiency and Modernisation in Higher Education.