Much of the coverage has been dominated by Brown's eye-catching pronounciations about outsourcing research, but such recommendations make up only a very small part of the overall report.
Much of the work consisted of interviews with senior management - often chief executives - of multinationals involved in research and about what these large, wealthy, powerful and global organisations want from their employees. And it seems that the UK fares rather well.
The report is very positive about the quality of the research done at UK universities, the quality of our graduates, and the flexibility and acumen of our top academics. With the authors warning that big companies have the resources to go to the very best institutions in the world for research partners, it seems many UK universities are world class business collaborators in a range of fields - and it's often not the ones routinely cited as 'the best'.
But Brown and Ternouth have a number of recommendations and, indeed, warnings. They note that where the UK sometimes falls down is on value for money, especially compared with technically able institutions in India - this is the genesis of the 'outsourcing' stories. They suggest we need to attract more able overseas students, as big business is very fond of those who have the drive to move to another country to get the best education. And in particular, our base of science research is dangerously eroded. In addition, the Government has already pared central funding down to a minimum, and must not make any more funding cuts.
Finally, the authors complain that UK HE has been 'on the back foot' for too long.
'…what is best about UK higher education needs to be recognised and defended; it also needs to be lauded.'
Amen to that.
The report appears to be being taken seriously by the Treasury - let's hope they act on it and particularly accept that if they want a world-class HE system, it might be a good idea to fund it properly.
We can also hope that commentators who constantly bang on about what a terrible state HE in the UK is in might read this and start to accept that not everything is broken.
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