HEFCE agrees continuation of special funding to the School of Advanced Study

Friday 1 February 2013

The School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London is delighted to announce the successful outcome of its funding review by HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England. In a report published today, HEFCE announced that public funding for the School would be continued at the current level on the basis of a rolling five-year grant.

HEFCE’s decision, in an especially competitive public funding climate for higher education, reinforces the importance of the public benefit delivered by the School as a national, and critically, neutral research hub. ‘This investment enables the School to provide a national research space which is tended by specialists whose primary duty is to nurture the intellectual advances and interconnections of other scholars.’ The HEFCE review panel, chaired by Professor Edward Acton, further concluded that the School’s location in London is both ‘appropriate and helps to create an environment uniquely suited to perform a national role in research facilitation and promotion for the public good’ and that its national role be developed to ensure its reach is extended well beyond London.

The School is uniquely well-placed to continue and increase its invaluable contribution to high quality research in the humanities and related social sciences.  ‘[It] ... provides a space which allows scholars to explore issues without an institutional agenda, thus reducing the reliance on competition to generate excellence. It also brings together diverse opinions on the preoccupations of particular subjects including their conflicting intellectual currents, and encourages interdisciplinary dialogue. We believe that this neutral vantage point also makes SAS a potentially valuable forum in national dialogue on research policy issues and priorities affecting the humanities and related social sciences.’

Professor Roger Kain CBE FBA, Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study, said ‘The Acton Report signals a defining moment in the history of the School of Advanced Study. Continued funding, maintained at the current level in today’s funding climate, is an excellent outcome. It recognises the success of crucial work already undertaken as well as the potential to continue to develop and build the School into an indispensable component of the UK humanities research infrastructure.’

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, said: ‘The very positive outcome of HEFCE’s review is a vote of confidence in the School, its Institutes and Roger Kain’s leadership. The vital role that SAS plays in the world of the humanities has long been a major asset in the academic life of the nation, and the University is looking forward to nurturing and developing the School and its influence both in the UK and internationally.’ 

The 2012 HEFCE review report is available from the HEFCE website at www.hefce.ac.uk/about/staff/board/hefceboardpapers/2012/149/

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Notes for editors:
1. For further information please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at dee.burn@sas.ac.uk / 020 7862 8670 / (0)7808 102735. Images available on request.

2. The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together 10 research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and the Warburg Institute. The School also hosts a cross-disciplinary centre, the Human Rights Consortium, dedicated to the facilitation, promotion and dissemination of academic and policy work on human rights. www.sas.ac.uk

3. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) promotes and funds high-quality, cost-effective teaching and research to meet the diverse needs of students, the economy and society. Our responsibilities are to distribute funds, safeguard quality and assure the proper stewardship of public money. We work closely with universities, colleges and other partners to develop policies, achieve excellence and impact in education and research, and to provide opportunities for all those who have the ability to benefit from higher education. For the academic year 2012-13, HEFCE will allocate £5.3 billion to 129 universities and higher education colleges and 186 directly funded further education colleges. www.hefce.ac.uk

4. The School, which was created in 1994, receives Special Funding from HEFCE awarded explicitly for the purpose of national research promotion and facilitation in the humanities and social sciences. The School undergoes periodic reviews to ensure its work and activities continue to justify its special funding. Since 1994, four funding reviews of the School have been carried out – in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2012. The 2012 review panel, chaired by Professor Edward Acton (Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia), reported its findings in November 2012 and the final report was published by HEFCE on 1 February 2013.

5. The 2012 HEFCE review report is available from the HEFCE website at www.hefce.ac.uk/about/staff/board/hefceboardpapers/2012/149/
The 2000, 2005, and 2007 HEFCE review reports are available from the School’s website at www.sas.ac.uk/about-us/introducing-school/mission/hefce-reviews