Libby Aston, former research director of the Russell Group and director of University Alliance, has written in defence of the principle of funding excellent research, wherever it is found. You may remember that the issue of piling research funding into a small number of research intensive universities was kick-started by the publication of Mandelson's 'Higher Ambitions' (ah! Never was a title so apposite), which first floated the idea.
However, Aston begs to differ. The UK already has 'one of the most concentrated funding models in the world', she claims in Research Fortnight, and Mandelson et al are confusing excellence with volume.
'If you fund on explicit concentration by institution, you are in effect leading money away from world-leading research in some institutions to fund a long tail of research in others.' Let's hope Mandy pulls a hand brake turn.