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Boost REF impact weighting to 25 per cent, says Witty’s review of universities and growth

An increase in the weighting for impact in the Research Excellence Framework would provide an incentive for universities to strengthen links with business, says a government-commissioned review conducted by GSK chief executive Andrew Witty.

Witty recommends that the impact weighting should be increased from the 20 per cent to 25 per cent in post-2014 rounds of the exercise. The review also calls for an increase to the Higher Education Innovation Fund, from about £150 million to £250m a year. Universities’ HEIF strategies, it says, should show how “all local small businesses that could benefit from working with a higher education institution are enabled to do so”.

The report, published on 15 October, says that as “universities have extraordinary potential to enhance economic growth”, they should adopt this as a third mission alongside research and education. Witty says that facilitating economic growth should become a “core strategic goal” for higher education institutions, and they should report their progress in this area to the government every year.

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