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A differentiated future

Surveys of heads of UK higher education

Each year we invite leaders of UK universities to share their views and plans on a wide range of current and future issues.

As well as a view on the long-term effects of COVID-led measures, potential changes in the market and policy environment for universities, and expectations for the sector over coming years, this year's findings highlight important differences from previous years. Vice-chancellors are building on the unexpected capacity for rapid innovation, adaptability, and agency that they discovered through the COVID-19 experience to secure a differentiated future in a fast-moving and unpredictable world.

Five key themes have emerged, pointing towards a very different HE sector in years to come:

  1. Mission-led strategic differentiation
    Building identities in terms of social and economic engagement and local region impact
  2. Enterprise and autonomy
    A shift in student recruitment, research, and business services income strategies
  3. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic
    Incorporating lessons learned into hybrid learning approaches
  4. A digitally-enabled experience
    Facilitating more flexible and inclusive ways of working with digital investments
  5. A new generation of leaders
    An emerging new generation of university heads, adopting different styles of leadership to their predecessors

Download the report to learn about the key themes driving a more differentiated, open, adaptive and resilient university system.

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