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The COUNCIL and the GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:
1. In this Report, the Council and the General Board bring forward proposals for implementing the proposed collaboration between the University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), funding for which was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 November 1999 (Reporter, p. 130). They explain the reasons why they believe the collaboration to be in the strategic interests of the University. They also give an account of the origins of the proposal and of the history of its consideration by the Council and the General Board. The Report proposes the establishment of the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) as the means by which the two universities should achieve the goals, and deliver the four programmes of activities, as set out in the Framework Agreement (see Annex 2).
2. In common with many other bodies in Higher Education, the Council and the General Board have in recent years given consideration to the implications for the University of certain trends such as globalization and the development of distance and web-based learning technologies. First, as stated in the Annual Report of the Council for 1997-98 (Reporter, 1998-99, Special No. 8), the Council and the General Board agreed to explore the possibilities for Cambridge of the concept of a 'virtual university' using the World Wide Web. Those explorations have, as yet, not led to any specific proposals which the Council and the General Board wish to report to the University. Secondly, the Planning and Resources Committee of the Council and the General Board have considered the global and competitive challenges facing UK universities in the next decade. Their considerations were aided by a paper which was prepared by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP) for their residential meeting in September 1998. Since then, the current Chairman of the CVCP, Professor Howard Newby, has developed the thinking in a further paper. Although neither paper is in the public domain, many of the issues which they raised and the way in which they were approached, as well as the background information contained therein, have been covered in speeches made by the Chief Executive of the CVCP. Her address to the Association of University Administrators Conference in March 1999, entitled 'Globalisation - the challenges and opportunities for UK Higher Education' is available at URL http://www.cvcp.ac.uk/WhatWeDo/Speeches/Key-AUA/key-aua.html. Also available is her speech in April 1998 to the Association of Business Schools, entitled 'The future business of universities' which is available at URL http://www.cvcp.ac.uk/WhatWeDo/Speeches/Key-ABS/key-abs.html.
3. As a result of their consideration of these matters, the Council and the General Board, through their Planning and Resources Committee, not only agreed to the exploration of the concept of a virtual university but also agreed to provide funding of £433,000 a year, for an initial period of three years for a centre which would assist Departments and Faculties in understanding how web-based learning material might enhance and extend the existing learning resources within the University. They also became aware of the significance that is attached in global markets to 'brand' names and to the need to protect the value of the brand. Such protection covers both engagement in those activities that will advance and enhance the core mission of the University and avoidance of engagement with activities and partners that could devalue the brand. Whilst coming to no particular view about the likelihood of globalization leading to the agglomeration of world-class universities into four or five major groupings, the central bodies were aware that strategic alliances between universities were likely to become more important. With the advent of distance learning technologies, all universities would be subject to greater or lesser extent to global competition and would be able to place less reliance on drawing their students from their traditional catchment areas. It was against this background that the Council and the General Board received reports of an approach made by MIT.
4. Very recently the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have set out their views on the strategic implications for the future of Higher Education of the emergence of global markets, the development of novel means of distance learning and the exploitation of new information and communication technologies. Details, including the decision of the HEFCE to launch an 'e-University' project, can be found at URL http://www.hefce.ac.uk/Partners/euniv/default.asp. The CVCP and the HEFCE have commissioned a research study on the impact of virtual and corporate universities on Higher Education, the results of which will be released in the near future under the title 'The business of borderless education'. The future role of the University in such developments was one of the subjects raised in the recent consultation on the Mission Statement. It is in that context that discussion is taking place on what constitutes the University of Cambridge 'brand', and how it should be preserved and/or developed. The Council and the General Board through their Planning and Resources Committee are considering what should be the appropriate involvement of the University in such developments. They will keep the Regent House informed of the progress of their discussions.
5. As he made clear at the press conference at which he launched CMI, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, organized a series of seminars in the middle of 1998 at which the comparative performance of the UK economy in terms of competitiveness, productivity, and entrepreneurship was explored. Among the lessons learnt, he reported, was the key role that universities can play, through engaging in their central activities of learning and research, in improving economic competitiveness and productivity, and in engendering an entrepreneurial spirit. In Gordon Brown's view, MIT has a particularly impressive track record in that regard. Accordingly, he sought to secure for the UK economy the same sort of benefits that MIT had engendered in the US economy. Having been made aware of the Chancellor's ambitions, MIT decided that, if they were to have any involvement with the UK, they would only wish to do so in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. MIT therefore approached the University about the possibility of coming to a mutually satisfactory agreement on a programme of activities which each university would be willing to undertake if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were willing to provide the appropriate funding.
6. The General Board were first informed of a possible collaboration between the University and MIT at their meeting on 13 January 1999 when they received an account of meetings held in the previous month. They also received documents which described the key elements of the collaboration, including student exchange, research, exchange of academic staff, and joint educational activities, as well as a framework and timetable for securing the funding necessary to enable the proposals to be achieved. The Vice-Chancellor reported on his most recent discussions with the academic leaders of MIT and with representatives of HM Treasury (HMT). The Board noted that one of the outcomes of those discussions was a draft proposal, copies of which they also received, for an Institute to bring the two institutions together. The Vice-Chancellor stated that he had agreed with the President of MIT that the venture possessed enormous potential in terms of the benefits from research which could be generated through different kinds of collaborative effort. MIT was prepared to be flexible in attempting to achieve objectives that suited both institutions. The Vice-Chancellor added that he would be holding further discussion with representatives of HMT in the near future, and that, in the meantime, it would be necessary to continue with the preparation of a detailed proposal. Several members of the Board raised concerns about whether a partnership with MIT would bring benefits across the whole range of academic disciplines represented in Cambridge. It was pointed out, however, that the possible availability of very significant funding from the Government was a factor that could not be overlooked. The Board agreed to approve the development of the proposal as a basis for a submission to HMT by their deadline of the beginning of February. The proposal was presented to the Board at their meeting on 10 February.
7. At their meeting on 10 March the Vice-Chancellor gave the Board a brief report on recent discussions which had taken place between MIT and HMT and, in particular, explained the possible implications for the venture of the involvement of the private sector. He remarked that the viability of the programme for both partners depended on the willingness of HMT to provide financial support to the extent envisaged from the start of the discussions. If the venture were to go ahead, it would not be possible to put in place programmes, which would require very careful and detailed discussion, before the academical year 2000-01. The Secretary General indicated that the officers would keep members of the Board informed of the progress made and would provide the opportunity for them to comment on any draft Notice on the initiative, in advance of publication in the Reporter.
8. A draft Notice and a Memorandum of Intent, which were based on the documentation that the Board had considered at their earlier meetings, were subsequently received by the Board at their meeting on 21 July. They noted that, although a positive outcome had not yet been achieved, the matter remained under active consideration by the partners concerned. This remained the position at their meeting on 6 October when the Board received the latest version of a draft Notice concerning the collaboration. Finally, at their meeting on 3 November, the Vice-Chancellor informed the Board that an announcement was expected on 8 November. Although that announcement was not of a finalized agreement, but the Framework Agreement, the contents were in essence very close to those which the Board have previously seen.
9. The Council had their first substantive discussion of the proposal at their meeting on 25 January 1999, when they received reports and notes of the meetings held in December 1998 and of the discussion at the General Board in January 1999. The Council noted that it was important that any alliance with MIT should be directed by Cambridge's and MIT's academic priorities and that it should not be exclusive for Cambridge. The Council, in welcoming the proposals, further noted that the possibility of cooperation with MIT was in principle attractive to Cambridge. They encouraged the Vice-Chancellor to pursue discussions with HMT and with MIT. The Council noted that because the Government was not at that time in a position for an announcement to be made, discussions would con-tinue on a confidential basis. The Council received further reports at their meetings on 15 March, 21 June, 27 September, and 25 October. Those reports were mainly concerned with the progress of the Government's consideration of outline proposals which Cambridge and MIT had put to them early in 1999 after the initial discussions by the General Board and the Council. The Council noted that HMT had been advised formally in writing by the Vice-Chancellor that any alliance was subject to the approval of the University. At their September meeting the Council considered the draft Memorandum of Intent and a draft Notice for publication in Cambridge after any formal announcement by the Government. Following the Government's announcement on 8 November, a Notice was published (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 130) which outlined to the University the areas proposed for collaboration between Cambridge and MIT. At their meeting on 22 November the Council reviewed the announcement which had been made and confirmed that a Report would need to be made to the University.
10. After an initial period of discussions between the senior officers of the institutions, involving the most relevant Heads of Department, the Council and the General Board gave their approval for the preparation and submission of detailed proposals to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The decision to submit such proposals was based on two broad principles. The first of these was that a strategic alliance involving an equal partnership between the University and MIT would provide a suitable context within which to explore the implications for Cambridge of the increasing globalization of Higher Education. Initially the alliance would simply involve working together on mutually agreed programmes such as those put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Its longer-term implications would be something that would only emerge over time. The second broad principle was that, although the alliance was to be funded in order to benefit the productivity, competitiveness and entrepreneurship of the UK economy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposals did not commit the University to undertake activities that were not already present in some form within the University. The Council and the General Board noted the broad fields of research which would fall within the Chancellor's proposals and the existing commitment of Departments and Faculties, particularly the Department of Engineering and the Judge Institute of Management Studies, to expanding and developing their course provision in what is termed in the proposals 'professional practice programmes'.
11. In the course of the discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and HMT officials, the two universities accepted that the student exchanges should be privately funded, although the development of common undergraduate courses would be supported from public funds. It was also accepted that the dissemination of the outputs of the initiative throughout the United Kingdom via other universities, who were interested in deploying them, should be a key part of the proposals. The discussions also resulted in the funding, which had been awarded, under the Science Enterprise Challenge Scheme, to the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre (CEC) totalling £2.9 million, being withdrawn by the sponsoring department, the Office of Science and Technology (OST) in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), on the understanding that the funding would be restored as part of the Chancellor's proposals and that CEC would be set up and run as if it remained funded directly by the OST. The DTI, rather than the Treasury, is the government department which will account for and monitor the public funding given to CMI. Accordingly it is with officials from the OST that the translation of the Framework Agreement into specific plans has been discussed.
12. The broad outlines of the financial framework were the subject of discussions with HMT, the outcome of which was reflected in the Chancellor's letter to the Vice-Chancellor. The details will, in part, be covered by the continuing discussions with OST officials but will mainly be the responsibility of the Board of Directors of CMI. CMI will adopt transparent accounting and audit procedures so as to ensure full compliance with the principles of public finance and public accountability. Decisions on expenditures in the four programme areas will be taken in a way which secures value for money against agreed measurable outputs. Where appropriate, decisions on major expenditures within the integrated research programme will be informed by peer review. Of the £84 million (£68 million from the public sector via the HMT Capital Modernisation Fund and £16 million from the private sector in the UK), £36m is likely to be committed to integrated research, £20m to undergraduate student education, £20m to professional practice programmes, and £8m to a national competitiveness network, the Cambridge Entrepreneurship Centre, and the administration of CMI. Expenditure, on communications, facilities, and the conversion of courses, totalling £15m has been apportioned between the four programmes although expenditure in one area is likely to benefit the others as well. Over the five years covered by the Framework Agreement, the expenditure incurred, on delivering the four programmes focused on achieving benefits for the UK economy in terms of productivity, competitiveness, and entrepreneurship, will be £50m at MIT and £34m within the University of Cambridge.
13. The Council and the General Board are seeking the approval of the Regent House for the establishment of the Cambridge-MIT Institute as a company limited by guarantee with the status of an exempt educational charity. The University and MIT will jointly own the company. Two of the non-executive directors of CMI will be the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and the President of MIT. The University and MIT will each appoint one further non-executive director. Each institution will also appoint an executive director. The two executive directors will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the institute. The directors collectively will be accountable for their management of the public funding received by CMI. In the case of the University, the Council, acting on the advice of the Vice-Chancellor, will appoint the directors.
14. The purpose of establishing CMI will be to create a body that will submit in its final form a proposal to OST who, on receipt of the proposal, will make an offer of public funding. There will be separate agreements between CMI and the two universities. These agreements will provide for the two universities separately and jointly being willing to work with CMI so as to achieve the goals and deliver the full programmes set out in the Framework Agreement. The ways in which those goals will be achieved and the programmes delivered will be the subjects of separately negotiated contracts between CMI and the relevant department, or departments, or faculty, in one or both universities. The form of these contracts will be similar to contracts currently held by the University with research councils and educational charities, and agreements with funding councils for the delivery of particular activities, both learning and/or research within the University for particular purposes.
15. The Council and the General Board are clear that, although CMI is unusual in its origins and in the scale of its funding, the issues that it raises do not breach any fundamental principles. CMI poses new and significant challenges in the form of new educational activities requiring new skills and a considerable expenditure of time and energy by academic staff. The University has however in the past risen to the challenge of developing new educational programmes similar to those activities that are proposed under this framework. The sums of money involved are significant in that they reflect the desire on the part of all parties concerned to fund adequately the additional activities that will be undertaken at both universities. The academic staff in both universities are already fully occupied in both teaching and research. The funding which is being provided will enable new staff to be appointed, both to undertake some of the new activities and also to release existing staff from their current activities so that they can engage in some of the new activities. A considerable portion of the funding is devoted to infrastructure costs and to investment in the design and delivery of new courses using distance learning and web-based teaching technologies. Neither university has plans at this stage to use either distance learning or web-based technology to change the residential nature of their full-time undergraduate degree programmes. Rather those technologies are being deployed as a way of exploring the implications for both universities of the concept of common courses taught at the two universities. In some contexts common courses may involve the use of common teaching materials by different academic staff in different departments. In other contexts the same material may be delivered simultaneously by one teacher to students at both campuses, either virtually via the Internet, and/or in conjunction with one set of students being active participants in a lecture via video links.
16. The agreement by the University and MIT to establish CMI for the purpose of implementing the Framework Agreement will be a major achievement but the executive bodies of both institutions have wider ambitions. Over time they wish to establish ways of working together in a strategic alliance, which covers all areas of common interest in all of their faculties and departments, using whatever appropriate opportunities, which present themselves, to secure the necessary funding. They believe that by working together both universities will gain and that the experience will inform the creation of other such alliances.
17. If the recommendations contained in this Report are approved, the Council and the General Board will report to the University from time to time on how the proposals are being implemented.
18. The Council and the General Board accordingly recommend:
I. That the Council be authorized to establish, as jointly owned by the University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Cambridge-MIT Institute and that it be a company, limited by guarantee with the status of an exempt educational charity, for the purpose of implementing the Framework Agreement appended to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's letter to the Vice-Chancellor, dated 4 November 1999.
II. That, subject to the Statutes and Ordinances of the University, the General Board and the Council as may be appropriate be given authority to enter into such contracts, agreements, and arrangements with the Cambridge-MIT Institute as they consider necessary from time to time for the execution of particular programmes within the Framework Agreement.
28 February 2000
|ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor||DONALD LAMING||JEREMY SANDERS|
|A. L. R. FINDLAY||JOHN A. LEAKE||M. SARDY|
|DAVID HARRISON||A. M. LONSDALE||M. SCHOFIELD|
|GORDON JOHNSON||M. D. MACLEOD||DAVID M. THOMPSON|
|T. JONES||ONORA O'NEILL||R. E. THORNTON|
25 February 2000
|ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor||MALCOLM GRANT||N. J. MACKINTOSH|
|P. J. BAYLEY||BRIAN F. G. JOHNSON||ADRIAN POOLE|
|A. L. R. FINDLAY||JOHN A. LEAKE||KATE PRETTY|
|K. GLOVER||PETER LIPTON||M. SCHOFIELD|
I am most grateful to you and your colleagues for the work which has been done to put together the attached framework proposal for the Cambridge-MIT Institute.
I am delighted that MIT has chosen to establish its new European centre in Britain, working in partnership with Cambridge University and the network of Enterprise Centres.
The next stage is to develop the proposals in each area - integrated research, professional practice programmes, undergraduate student education and the national competitiveness network with the Enterprise Centres - into programmes which are mutually acceptable.
If we can reach agreement on detailed proposals, the Government would be willing to commit up to £68m over five years to the Institute, to be released against contracts for specific programmes. This would be provided from the Capital Modernisation Fund through the Department of Trade and Industry budget. Cambridge/MIT's commitment to raise $25.5 million from the private sector would also be an essential part of the agreement and would cover, among other things, the cost of the student exchanges.
The recently announced Cambridge Enterprise Centre would be subsumed within this programme, so releasing money in the Enterprise Centre Challenge Fund to provide a Centre at another university.
On this basis I would like to announce that we have reached agreement in principle on a framework for the Institute. This would take place in London on 8 November and I would welcome your presence.
I am writing in similar terms to Charles Vest.
MIT and CU will create a new form of academic enterprise - the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) - bringing together two of the world's great universities to build on the complementary strengths of each institution. CMI will have several goals:
Four broad areas form the nucleus of CMI. These include undergraduate student education; a programme of integrated research; adaption of professional practice programmes developed at MIT to the UK experience, and creation of a National Competitiveness Network.
Research will focus largely on fields that have potential to influence substantially the future evolution of technology. To identify likely research areas for collaboration, the CMI will sponsor a series of small strategic research meetings, which bring five or six faculties together from each institution.
CMI will also conduct joint research on competitiveness and productivity of UK industry.
In addition, CMI will support faculty exchanges through a programme of Cambridge-MIT Fellows. These Fellows will consist of a faculty from each institution committed to working across the partnership. Potential areas of collaboration include physics, biology, neuroscience, information technology, financial engineering, nanotechnology, bioengineering, microfabrication, and materials science.
To sustain cultural change, MIT and CU will initiate a series of common courses (typically taken by third-year students) taught on both the Cambridge and MIT campuses as part of the degree programmes at both universities. These will focus on engineering, science, technology, and management, including innovative interdisciplinary programmes. Using distance learning technologies and web-based instructional materials, these courses would be available simultaneously in both locations. In addition there would be student exchanges funded by industry, involving students spending their entire third year at their host university. This will immerse Cambridge students in MIT's highly entrepreneurial culture. For MIT students, a year in Cambridge will expose them to contrasting strengths and different styles and methods of teaching.
MIT has recently worked in partnership with industry to create a number of innovative programmes that tightly couple education in engineering and management (e.g. Leaders for Manufacturing, Systems Design and Management, Management of Technology, Master of Engineering in Logistics, Financial Engineering and Management, Entrepreneurship). CMI will support adaptation of these programmes to the CU environment. In addition, MIT and CU will identify other opportunities for trans-Atlantic collaboration on graduate education in fields beyond management and engineering.
CMI will establish a national knowledge network with linkages to the Enterprise Centres and to Industry.
The UK network is modelled after PD21: Product Development for the 21st Century, a similar network approach implemented by MIT in the US. This will act as a hub of the network. It will deploy educational and research results produced by CMI and other universities, co-ordinate development of joint research projects to be undertaken by participating universities, and convene an annual business-government-university summit focusing on competitiveness and productivity of UK industry.
The creation of the network represents a unique opportunity for universities across the UK.
A Steering Group will be established comprising two representatives of CU, MIT, and the Enterprise Centres. This Group will have no executive role. It will report twice a year to HMT and the DTI on the transfer of experience and practice by the CMI to the Enterprise Centres and on the creation of the National Competitiveness Network.
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Cambridge University Reporter, 1 March 2000
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.