Education Insight

Global demand for research degrees in the UK

Janet Ilieva - 12 May 2021

Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference

Priorities for international research partnerships

Wednesday, 28th April 2021

Here are some highlights from my contribution to the Westminster Higher Education Forum on Priorities for international research partnerships.
– Globally, doctoral degrees have the highest concentration of international students. Almost half of the full-time entrants to postgraduate research (PGR) in the UK are from overseas (49%)
– International PhD students globally are concentrated in STEM subjects and Business
– Growth in STEM in the UK came from China – ATAS certificates now attract higher scrutiny
– There are significant declines in the UK and international PGR entrants
– The number of non-EU PGR entrants is at the 2012 level; the EU number is at the 2008 level
– Institutional awards and tuition fee waivers appear to be offsetting declines in other funding sources, such as overseas
government funding
– Declines in research funding in the UK present (i) a challenge to the perceived commitment of the UK HEIs to their international
partners, and equally, (ii) they increase the reliance on cross-subsidy from international students’ fees
– Previous research shows the researchers in the UK are more mobile than most comparator countries. Funding reductions will most likely impact the most mobile researchers, who are also highly productive
– Attracting and retaining research talent will be a significant challenge

Full presentation is available here.