The New Regionalisationof UK Higher Education

A comprehensive analysis of research consortia and doctoral research training networks across the UK

This report reveals their geography, examines the motives, aspirations, and mechanisms for collaboration, and considers the implications for the future of higher education praxis.

A comprehensive analysis of research consortia and doctoral research training networks across the UK

This report reveals their geography, examines the motives, aspirations, and mechanisms for collaboration, and considers the implications for the future of higher education praxis.

The New Regionalisation of UK Higher Education report presents the findings of research into the new landscape of research and research training consortia. Based on desk-top research and interviews conducted between September 2013 and June 2014 the research provides an ‘in retrospect’, ‘in snapshot’ and ‘in prospect’ take on this regionalisation of higher education as it emerged in the UK. 

The focus of our research has been the research and equipment-sharing consortia (White Rose Consortium, N8, GW4, SES, Eastern ARC) and the Doctoral Training Centre networks established by UK research councils (AHRC, BBSCR, ESRC, EPSRC, NERC) over the past five years.

Our starting point was recognition that although some research had started to analyse the benefits of collaboration in higher education, there had been no systematic attempt to examine this new institutional landscape of research and research training consortia in UK higher education. Providing a comprehensive analysis of collaboration for research and research training, the research presented in this report reveals the extent of these new collaborative geographies within UK higher education, examines the motives and aspiration for collaboration within consortia, and considers the implications of this new institutional landscape for the future of higher education praxis.

Our work has been further supported with Loughborough University Enterprise Funding through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

Dr John Harrison

Photo of Dr John Harrison

Research Lead

Department of Geography

Responsibilities

John is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, and an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network. He is a regional geographer interested in the transformation of cities and regions in contemporary globalization. His research focuses on the construction of regions, regional spaces and regional imaginaries, and examines the new planning and governance arrangements that emerge to operate across these new regional spaces.

John edits the ‘Urban and Regional Horizons’sectionof the journal Regional Studies and his research has been funded by BIS, the British Academy, ESRC, EPSRC, NIESR and Regional Studies Association.

Professor Darren P Smith

Photo of Professor Darren P Smith

Research Lead

Department of Geography

Responsibilities

Darren is a Professor in the Department of Geography and the Associate Dean for Enterprise within the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences. He is a social population geographer interested in student geographies and higher education, and contemporary migration flows and population restructuring in the configuration of ‘new social relations and changing places’.

Dr Chloe Kinton

Photo of Dr Chloe Kinton

Research Associate

Department of Geography

Responsibilities

Chloe is a Research Associate in the Department of Geography. Her PhD research centred on student geographies and examined how processes of destudentification are leading to urban abandonment and decline in some UK university towns and cities. Chloe then worked on two projects exploring contemporary geographies of higher education: University of Brighton Student Accommodation Provision and The Regionalisation of UK Higher Education. Chloe is currently working on a new ORA-ESRC project with Professors Darren Smith and Martin Phillips (Leicester) on International Rural Gentrification (iRGENT).

The New Regionalisation of UK Higher Education report marks the end of the first phase of this research project. In the next phase our focus will be on how the institutional landscape evolves as each DTC network comes up for renewal and to develop greater understanding of how research and researching training consortia are impacting UK higher education.

We are very keen to engage with stakeholders in the design, implementation and dissemination of this next phase of research so if you would like to discuss the report further, or ways to stay in touch with the research, John or Darren are happy to discuss this with you.