From http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2013/jul/04/postgraduate-funding-three-possible-solutions Britain after decades of the decline of its heavy industry, it is still one of the intellectual powerhouses of the in europe and the world – starting new ideas that solve new global problems and evolving new technology that keeps the economy growing. To maintain this position, however, our workshop needs a steady supply of raw material in the shape of well-educated postgraduate students. What can be done to stop this supply from danger of drying up.
The number of UK students on postgraduate taught degree courses has begun to decline after a decade of relatively high growth, according to a new Hefce report that gives an overview of postgraduate study in England and Northern Ireland. An earlier report from Universities UK, The Funding Environment for Universities, also shows the total number of students on postgraduate taught courses in the UK slid by 5 % in 2011-12.
Any sustained slide in the number of students on postgraduate taught courses is deeply worrying, because it creates a bottleneck in the intellectual supply pipeline that ultimately produces what we might call ultra-skilled workers: our future research scientists, academics and leading thinkers educated in the humanities and social sciences. Postgraduate taught courses are a standard route to postgraduate research degrees, which are in turn essential for sustaining our world-class academic workforce.