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Navigating uncertainty

How vice-chancellors are reimagining the future of higher education


Universities are constantly learning to adapt to shifting trends and demands, but 90 percent of the heads of UK universities we surveyed say the threats are greater than ever.    

To meet these challenges head on, universities are adopting a transitional mindset. This year’s findings highlight the foundational shifts that have converged to reshape a system in flux, and explore the strategies taken to retain relevancy in the new knowledge economy.    

A measured response  

Universities have traditionally responded to disruption through gradual improvement and iteration. Based on our research, we explore five central areas where respondents are making measured advances:  

  1. Student growth  
  2. Reframing portfolios and delivery 
  3. Growing research, innovation, and knowledge exchange 
  4. Prioritising digital transformation 
  5. Reframing boundaries and presence.  

Adopting system-wide reforms     

Alongside gradual improvements, universities are pursuing a more radical approach that builds resilience through system-wide reforms. Our research identifies and groups these reforms into the following key themes:  

  • Place-related partnerships   
  • Tertiary level integration 
  • AI and digital for hyper-personalisation   
  • Shared ambition and resources.

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

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