Policy and Public Affairs Update: December 2021

Tertiary Education and Research Bill (Wales)

Over the last few months, the Tertiary Education and Research Bill (Wales) has been the main focus for our policy work.

The Bill dissolves the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and creates a new Welsh Government Sponsored Body to be known as the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER).

This body will be responsible for the funding, oversight and regulation of tertiary education and research in Wales

Prof Hywel Thomas (President) and Prof Helen Fulton (Vice-President, HASS) gave evidence to the Children Young People and Education Committee of the Senedd on 9 December, and this was supplemented by written evidence. Our submission has focused on the aspects relevant to research and innovation. We call for protection of QR / core research funding and for an additional strategic duty for research.

You can watch the session here.

In 2022 we will continue to work with the Welsh government and the Senedd as the Bill progresses to the next stage.

Innovation Strategies for Wales

We are currently convening a programme of activities to help inform and improve innovation policies and practices in Wales.  The programme is led by Prof Rick Delbridge, special advisor to the President on innovation, and supported by Dr Sarah Morse, Policy and Public Affairs Manager and Dr Justyna Prosser, our freelance Policy Assistant.

This is a timely programme given the publication of the BEIS Innovation Strategy for the UK, the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill, the increasing importance of a place-based agenda, and the UK government’s spending review commitment to increase R&D spend by 35% to £20billion in the next 3 years. 

The forthcoming UK Government White Paper on Levelling Up is expected to outline a plan to ensure that an increased proportion of government spending on R&D over the next three years is invested outside the Greater South East of the UK. 

At the same time, the Welsh Government is reviewing its innovation policies and is currently developing a new integrated cross-governmental strategy for innovation, and the TER Bill (Wales) will alter the landscape for research and innovation within HE.

The write-up of the first discussion, which considered the context, developments, and where next for innovation policies for Wales, is available on our website. The second event looked at lessons from small innovative nations and the write up will be available shortly. Future discussions will consider the role of science parks, and city and regional growth deals. If you would like more information, please contact policy@lsw.wales.ac.uk.

Levelling Up

On the 25 January the Celtic Academies Alliance will host a virtual meeting for the Fellows and Members of the Learned Society of Wales, Royal Irish Academy and Royal Society of Edinburgh to discuss the UK Government’s Levelling Up white paper. It will be an opportunity to (hopefully) reflect on the proposals and to inform the CAA’s response.

If you would like to join the conversation, please contact Dr Sarah Morse.

HEFCW consultation: Wales Studies Publication Fund

The Society welcomes HEFCW’s proposals to amend the arrangements for the Wales Studies Publication Fund and will be preparing a response in the new year. If you would like to contribute please contact Dr Sarah Morse.