Universities fight competition

10 August 2008
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11 August 2008 | Jake Kanter

Procurement must help universities become more competitive, according to the CPO at Heriot-Watt University.

It follows a report by Standard & Poor's out last week, which suggested some universities in the UK would "cease to exist" as they compete with other institutions across the globe. It said efforts to attract foreign students will mean increased spend on residential and academic infrastructure.

"For many universities, this may mean accepting greater financial risk in the short-term, in the hope of strengthening their overall competitiveness in the longer-term," the study explained. It added that students are "demanding" en-suite accommodation, with broadband connections. There is also a greater need for education and research resources.

Tony Newjem, director of procurement at Heriot-Watt, said: "Procurement has a serious role to play in making universities more competitive and better able to survive the pressures of the global economy."

He said buyers can help reduce cost base and secure end-to-end value for research services and IT equipment. Newjem urged purchasers to adopt good project management techniques to ensure major investment programmes deliver benefits.



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