Higher Education and Research Bill - Report (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 15th March 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Smith of Finsbury Lord Smith of Finsbury Non-affiliated 8:00 pm, 15th March 2017

I do not think that our amendment would make any substantive difference from the position under the provisions of the Bill. It simply means that UKRI is part of the process alongside the Office for Students.

In relation to UKRI, the Minister has shown in our discussions much wisdom and willingness to take on board points made from all sides of the House. This is only to be expected from an alumnus of Pembroke College. However, on this particular issue, about research degree-awarding powers, he says that we are dancing on the head of a pin. I do not think that we are. There is a fundamental difference between having a statutory duty to give advice and for that advice to be considered, and taking a joint decision. There is a world of difference between those two. The question is who has the ultimate authority, who has the subsequent accountability and whether we can, by making this a joint decision, give reassurance to many of our leading research universities, which have expressed concern. As I said earlier, the body that knows about students and the body that knows about research should both be involved in the decision about whether to give research degree-awarding powers, and they should make that decision jointly. It would be useful to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 101, Noes 142.