Press release

Professor Dave Phoenix re-elected as Chair of MillionPlus

11 May 2017

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities has announced that Professor Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University has been re-elected as Chair of MillionPlus for the next two years. In his speech to Vice-Chancellors and Principals attending the Annual Meeting of MillionPlus today (11 May), Professor Phoenix will call on the next government to recognise that modern universities are “hugely important to the UK” and “major forces in their local communities and regional economies”. He will also say that higher education is “more than a market” and that governments must value the wider role of universities in promoting ideas, strengthening society and offering new opportunities regardless of background, age or culture.

Professor Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, who will begin his second term as MillionPlus Chair in August, will say:

“I am honoured to have been re-elected as the Chair of MillionPlus for a further two years. Modern universities are hugely important to the UK and offer a wide range of relevant degrees which bring life-long advantages to our graduates enabling them to gain employment in their chosen careers.

“These universities are major forces in their local communities and regional economies and have teaching and research partnerships with universities throughout the world and will play a crucial role in ensuring that the industrial strategy of the next government is a success. However, governments must also recognise that higher education is much more than a market and that universities have a wider role in promoting ideas, strengthening society and offering new opportunities regardless of background, age or culture.”

The MillionPlus 2017 General Election manifesto calls for the next government to:

Industrial strategy

  • Work with modern universities to deliver an industrial strategy that supports regional growth
  • Replace current EU structural and regional funds with a new and increased regional growth fund in which universities are valued as key partners


  • Review the sustainability of the current funding model for students and universities in England to make it both fair and economically viable
  • Restore student maintenance grants to ensure that those from the low-income households are not put off studying for a degree
  • Commit to do much more to support people who want to study part-time or return to study later in life

Teacher education

  • Ensure that universities are at the heart of initial teacher training and career-long professional development for teachers to address problems of teacher shortage and retention


  • Write-off the student loans of nurses and NHS professional staff in England who work in the NHS after qualification and restore funding for continued professional development which is vital to improved and integrated health and social care


  • Raise the level of investment in UK science and research to 3%
  • Guarantee to replace any EU research funding that is lost after Brexit
  • Redistribute new funding for translational research to universities which are active in their regions

Negotiating Brexit

  • Guarantee EU staff and citizens the right to remain as soon as possible, and in the longer-term develop a light-touch work-permit scheme to allow universities to recruit talented individuals
  • Negotiate a temporary residency scheme or visa-free access for EU students studying in the UK and for UK students studying in Europe, to tap into this talent pipeline and keep the UK competitive
  • Explore the potential for reciprocal funding arrangements to support student mobility, boost student numbers coming to the UK and enable UK students to study across Europe 
  • Negotiate the UK’s continued membership of Horizon 2020 and other research programmes
  • Remain open to allowing access to the European Court of Justice as the EU’s arbitration court for trade agreements, research and other collaborative programmes. Without such jurisdiction, entry to these valuable programmes will be impossible


  • Take international students out of migration targets, to help address the UK’s declining market share
  • Develop a strategy to reduce barriers and boost recruitment by introducing a light-touch and low cost visa regime for international students
  • Create a new post-study work visa route to meet the needs of businesses and communities across the UK


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. Modern universities: key facts
  3. Read the MillionPlus general election manifesto in full here
  4. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email