Changes to Jisc funding

[from Jisc press release 12/09/13]

Jisc, the UK charity which provides digital services for education and research, is today writing to UK universities to outline proposed refinements to the organisation’s funding model.

Since the publication of Sir Alan Wilson’s review of Jisc in February 2011 it has enhanced its integration with the sector to deliver products and services developed around its needs. With the balance of higher education funding moving from grants to subscriptions, Jisc funding needs to evolve similarly. The changes mean that Jisc’s existing subscription model for the Janet network will be refined, with the proposed change coming into effect from the start of the academic year 2014-15.

This will ensure that universities continue to benefit from a world class research and education network, negotiated rich and up-to-date online collections, best practice advice on many different areas and targeted research and development.

Explaining the changes, Martyn Harrow, Jisc chief executive said, “Jisc’s funding has decreased over the past few years and will continue to do so. We have made efficiency improvements meaning that Jisc will absorb the majority of these financial reductions without threatening any of the core services on which the sector depends.

“We are currently writing to all higher education institutions setting out details of these changes and the implications for their 2014-15 budgets. There should be minimal change in the further education and skills sectors, and we will be communicating in due course to clarify the position for this sector.”

Commenting on these changes Nicola Dandridge, chief executive, UUK said, “UUK recognises the importance and value of Jisc and the work it does across the higher education, further education and skills sectors to support the use of digital technologies. We are fully supportive of the new sector driven governance model for the organisation and the work that has been done to shape Jisc to be leaner, better value, and even more focused operationally and strategically on the true wants and needs of the sector.”

Each year Jisc saves the sectors it serves around £260m – three times its operating costs – in direct savings and cost avoidance, in effect saving each individual institution many times its own subscription. In addition to these efficiencies, Jisc will minimise the impact of the shift by creating the largest VAT cost sharing group in the UK meaning that institutions will not pay VAT on future Jisc subscriptions.  

“We know the financial pressure all our institutions are under, so we will continue to look at the way Jisc works and will constantly strive to improve our services. In his review Sir Alan Wilson described Jisc as a ‘national asset’, these changes will ensure that learners and researchers – both on and off campus – continue to have instant access to an unrivalled research and education network,  as well as vital collections and resources that are of immense benefit to them,” said Martyn.