Press release

Modern universities “one of UK’s most precious assets”, MillionPlus Chair tells AGM

12 May 2016

In his speech to the Annual Meeting of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, later today (12 May), Professor Dave Phoenix, will call modern universities one of the UK’s “most precious assets”.

Professor Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University and Chair of MillionPlus, will tell an audience of Vice-Chancellors and sector leaders from across the country that the “litmus test” for UK governments must be winning the trust of students and university leaders.

He will also argue that “watering down university title” will “undoubtedly damage” the UK’s reputation and must be “subject to the widest possible public and parliamentary debate”.

Professor Phoenix will say:

“Modern universities and their graduates are one of the most precious assets of the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments. These universities deliver research with impact, societal change, social mobility and engage in highly successful global partnerships throughout the world.

“All Ministers, including in the administrations recently elected in Scotland and Wales, need to win the trust of both students and university leaders. Respect for institutional autonomy and the right of all potential students, whatever their age or background, to study full or part-time at universities which are well-funded to deliver research and high quality, relevant higher education, will be the litmus tests for governments wherever they are located.

“Any proposals to water down university title in England by diluting standards or undermining the expectation that universities are research-active and operate for the public good will undoubtedly damage the UK’s international reputation overseas and must be subject to the widest possible public and parliamentary debate.”

The MillionPlus Annual Meeting will include sessions on the UK Government’s HE reforms and the research landscape across the UK. Guest speakers include: Ms Angela Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for BIS; Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit; and David Sweeney, Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange at Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce).


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  3. The MillionPlus AGM is on Thursday, 12 May 2016. Professor Dave Phoenix will address the meeting at 3pm