Friday, 25 November 2011

UCL Moves East

The news that they might have to move out to Stratford has been greeted by at least some UCL staff with predictable dismay. Even with Westfield, Stratford isn't quite Bloomsbury. Colleagues at UEL probably aren't so happy either.

If this project matures (and there are some significant obstacles) it will be an interesting test of how much things are really changing in the sector. We once had clear rules and expectations for these kinds of project. HEFCE would be touched up for capital and revenue funding. In consequence of HEFCE's love of collaboration and hatred of all kinds of unseemly fuss, local institutions would be brought into the fold - preferably across the HE/FE divide. Thus we got Birkbeck Stratford (on a rather smaller scale than UCL are planning), and the New University Challenge. Now, HEFCE may no longer have the capital funding to make any real difference to what UCL want to do, and may not have much revenue funding either (although they still have control over student numbers up to a point). UCL may simply ignore the presence of Birkbeck and UEL in Straford (not to mention Newham College).

William Cullerne Browne sets out the alternative hypothesis, that it is precisely the new funding regime that will make this kind of deal a possibility. We'll see, I suppose.

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