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Higher Education and Society

Higher Education and Society The Higher Education and Society cluster focuses on the ways in which the higher education community interacts with, affects and is affected by society around it. The cluster is essential because much of the work we engage in, both teaching and research, is designed to make an impact on society around us.

As teachers, we hope to engage students with ethical thinking, helping students to develop their ‘employability’ skills and, particularly, to develop as critical individuals. As researchers, we work with external organisations and individuals with a view to improving the world around us: to have real impact on society.

The cluster’s approach to research is methodologically pluralistic and interdisciplinary, and we welcome any topic that is relevant to studying the impact of higher education on society. The cluster will engage with key debates such as the ethical graduate, quality management, student experience, higher education engaging with NGOs and the business community, widening participation, gender and higher education, internationalisation of HE and graduate employability.

Cluster aims and objectives

The cluster aims to stimulate and develop research into the role of higher education as a catalyst for improving society.

The key objectives are to:

  • Develop research projects with a focus on the role higher education plays in changing society (this may be funded research, collaborative books, research articles)
  • Bring together different colleagues from around the University with an interest in this issue
  • Focus research on higher education on influencing and improving political, sector and institutional policy
  • Promote partnerships with the local community
  • Develop networks with universities and other organisations nationally and internationally

Research funding

A range of funding opportunities will be explored, including Erasmus Plus and Horizon 2020, ESRC, Nuffield, Leverhulme and British Academy.

Key support will include:

  • Institutional support for developing research activity
  • Support for writing REF 2020 outputs
  • Support for PhD students in the area
  • Support for key conference attendance to showcase our research and to develop our national and international networks