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Mergers not the way forward to improve research ratings

07/12/2021

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas is backing a motion in the Senedd aimed at improving Welsh Higher Education.

Mr Thomas believes that mergers are not way forward to improve research ratings.

Plaid’s Education and Skills spokesperson Simon Thomas said:

“Plaid is not in favour of forced mergers because it will take resources and attention away from the main work of universities that is education and research. It is time that we saw our research capabilities at Welsh Higher Education institutions improve. The best way to increase research funding is through better co-operation instead of imposing mergers.

“We get far less than our fair share of Research Council Funding. This money is allocated on the basis of excellence, not per capita. So it is clear Welsh Universities need to up their game.

“Every step by the Welsh government should be designed to increase the access of our poorest students to our higher education institutions, to ensure that our HE institutions offer the best undergraduate experience and graduate employment opportunities, and of improving the research capabilities of Welsh universities.

“What is important for Plaid Cymru is that we see an improvement in our higher education system and sector as regards achievement, graduate employment and research opportunities in universities and within the sector in Wales.”

The motion to be discussed on Wednesday calls on the Welsh Government to:  

  • realign Higher Education policy to strengthen teaching standards and improve graduate outcomes;

  • establish Welsh Higher Education Institutions as centres for post graduate and research excellence; and

  • prioritise voluntary collaboration in preference to forced mergers between Higher Education Institutions.