chapter  8
Necessary myths
The university as economic powerhouse
Pages 21

The necessary myth sits comfortably with a dominant prestige aspect of universities, a deep-seated cultural valuing of basic over-applied research, of curiosity-driven research over the provision of a service. National governments aiming to produce economic growth look to their universities to help to provide it, through the generation of ideas that can be exploited commercially. The UK provides an excellent example of government concern that universities should contribute to economic growth and of the prestige issues that are raised. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which remains a major distributor of government funding to higher education for research and teaching. A consequence of current local government arrangements and the culture of higher education is that the case for university involvement has continually to be made, and prestige aspects play quite strongly against optimal involvement.