Research and Education

The latest from our Summer of Student Innovation design sprint

12 August 2016

This year's four-day-long design sprint from the Summer of Student Innovation was a huge success. We hear from winners past and present at the design sprint, and Justin Haylock tells us about this year's winning ideas, and what the teams have been up to at the event (including playing with Lego).

Degrees have 'retained earnings value'

The value of a university degree in higher earnings has not been eroded by the increase in student numbers, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Wirral teen celebrates nine A* grades and has University Challenge hopes

A teenager celebrates achieving nine A* grades at A-level and hopes to be a future contestant on University Challenge.

University to raise tuition fees for current students

Exeter University has told its current students that their tuition fees are going to be increased to £9,250 from autumn 2017.

Dundee university to autopsy an alien

The University of Dundee is to undertake an "alien autopsy" to mark the 150th anniversary of HG Wells' birth.

Fair advice call for A-level results

A social mobility charity is training volunteers to help give advice to state school pupils getting their A-level results this week.

Nigerian university tackles extremism and hunger

A university in north-eastern Nigeria is running projects to feed displaced people and prevent extremism.

Labour promises return of student maintenance grants

Labour says it would increase corporation tax to fund maintenance grants and bring back the education maintenance allowance for 1.25 million students.

West can't go into isolation on aid, warns Gillard

It is no longer possible for countries to isolate themselves from events such as the refugee crisis in the Middle East, says Julia Gillard.

Meningitis W: Students urged to get vaccine

Young people starting at university or college in September are being urged to get a vaccine against meningitis.

Funding and Consultations

Open consultation: Developing black and minority ethnic talent: issues faced by businesses - McGregor-Smith review

In February, the Business Secretary asked Baroness McGregor-Smith to undertake a review of the issues faced by businesses in developing black and minority ethnic talent from recruitment through to executive level.

In order to inform that review, Baroness McGregor-Smith has launched a call for evidence and welcomes your views on:

  • the need for change
  • identifying obstacles
  • assessing the impacts of obstacles
  • existing data
  • best practice
  • recommendations

Closed consultation: National Innovation Plan: call for ideas

Updated: Deadline for responses extended to 30 May 2016.

Innovation can transform lives. It can help us to face some of our biggest challenges, from energy supply and food security, to demographic change and the delivery of public services. It enables businesses to develop new ideas, products and services, and create new jobs and export opportunities.

We want to know how you think the UK can improve its innovation framework. The survey asks for views on 7 areas:

  • regulation
  • procurement
  • access to finance
  • data
  • challenger businesses
  • national infrastructure
  • intellectual property

Your ideas will help us to develop a National Innovation Plan which we will publish later this year.

Closed consultation: Tips, gratuities, cover and service charges: proposals for further action

We believe that all discretionary payments for service should be subject to 3 broad policy objectives:

  • clear to consumers that they are voluntary
  • received by workers
  • clear and transparent to consumers and workers in terms of how the payments are treated

The consultation document includes:

We’re seeking views on our proposals for further action.

Closed consultation: Property ownership and public contracting by foreign companies: improving transparency

Updated: Consultation closing date extended to 4 April 2016.

This discussion paper sets out proposals to improve the transparency of ownership of foreign companies that purchase property or participate in public contracting.

The proposals are designed to help prevent the UK from being a safe haven for corrupt money from around the world.

The consultation closing date has been extended to Monday 4 April 2016.

Closed consultation: Land Registry: moving operations to the private sector

The Land Registry registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

This consultation sets out options to move Land Registry operations into the private sector. The purpose of the consultation is to:

  • set out government’s reasons for proposing change
  • propose how a private sector Land Registry would work
  • share our thinking on possible models for the future of Land Registry
  • seek views on the proposals, especially on our preferred option

A sale of Land Registry could allow government to pay down debt, or enable other investment for the benefit of taxpayers. It is expected that a move into the private sector would also allow Land Registry to become even more efficient. At the same time it could continue with an appropriate level of service to support the property market.

Closed consultation: Further education maintenance loans (technical and professional education)

We’re proposing maintenance loans for higher-level learners in technical and professional education. This includes the new National Colleges and learning at the emerging Institutes of Technology. We want to remove the up-front cost and increase the uptake of technical and professional learning in sectors that are important to the economy.

We’ll use evidence gathered through this consultation to make decisions on:

  • whether introducing the loans would increase take up
  • scope of the loans
  • eligibility to receive the loans

We would like views from colleges and independent providers in the further education sector, including National Colleges, higher education institutions and other interested bodies.

Closed consultation: Protections for small and micro businesses in non-regulated sectors

We want views on whether further protections are needed for small and micro businesses (a business employing 9 people or less), including sole traders, in the non-regulated sector.

We are interested in hearing from:

  • individual firms
  • trade bodies
  • research and academic organisations
  • others with experience of analysis in this area

You should back up your submission with strong and clear evidence to support any views offered.

The government made a commitment to consult on protections for small businesses in the competition plan, published in November 2015.

This consultation builds on last year’s call for evidence, which looked at current protections around the sale and supply of goods and services to small businesses.

Closed consultation: Non-Financial Reporting Directive: UK implementation

Updated: Added impact assessment and Regulatory Policy Committee assessment.

We want industry views on how we should implement the requirements in the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU) into UK law. This amends Directive 2013/34/EU and requires certain companies, with more than 500 employees, to disclose information in their management reports about their:

  • policies
  • environmental risks
  • social and employee situation
  • respect for human rights
  • anti-corruption and bribery issues
  • diversity in their board of directors

This will provide investors and other stakeholders with a more comprehensive view of a company’s performance.

Closed consultation: Business impact target, growth duty and Small Business Appeals Champion

Updated: Added link to categories of regulatory provisions to be excluded from the BIT.

We’re seeking your views on which regulators to bring within scope of the business impact target (BIT), growth duty and Small Business Appeals Champion. We’re also asking for feedback on draft statutory guidance to support the implementation of the growth duty and the Small Business Appeals Champion.

This consultation is relevant to regulators and businesses and members of civil society subject to regulation.

On 3 March 2016 the Secretary of State published his list of categories of regulatory provisions which will be excluded from the BIT. All other regulatory provisions coming into force or ending during this Parliament will be treated as qualifying regulatory provisions and will count against the target.

Closed consultation: Improving terms and conditions

In this call for evidence we are seeking a better understanding of how T&Cs can be made more accessible for consumers. It includes a number of proposals along with more general questions on how respondents approach T&Cs and what might work better for them.

We are also proposing additional enforcement tools, including civil fining powers for breaches of the consumer protection legislation.

Views are sought from the public, consumer representatives, businesses, trade bodies and regulators.