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Jo Johnson’s international vision

The universities minister is due to make his inaugural speech, writes Alison Goddard.

Jo Johnson, the incoming universities minister, is expected to make his first speech in post at 11am today at the British Council’s Going Global conference. He will champion the world-class nature of British universities but regret the lack of British student mobility—and identify some possible solutions. Mr Johnson has a long-standing interest in India: he co-edited "Reconnecting Britain and India: Ideas for an Enhanced Partnership" that was published in 2011; it contains a chapter contributed by Martin Davidson, chief executive of the British Council, as well as forewords by David Cameron and Manmohan Singh, then prime ministers of the UK and of India. The Queen’s Speech last week included the statement:"My government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India." Note the similarity between the statement and the title of Mr Johnson’s tome. We shall have a full report once Mr Johnson has delivered his speech.

Today’s newspapers lack a coherent narrative. The Daily Telegraph reckons that the inclusion of impact in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework has led to an acceleration in the growth of spin-out companies, which seems to be an insufficient explanation for the trend. Meanwhile the Financial Times says that robotics researchers are frustrated because funding has failed to meet the rhetoric. There is very little meaningful higher-education-related news elsewhere.

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