Thursday 3 May 2018, 15.30 - 16.45


Listen to the entire session through the audio podcast

Session slides

You can view Rob Carthy's slides here.

You can view Erik Bloom's slides  here.

You can view Emanuela Di Gropello's slides here.

You can view Professor Andrew Crouch's slides here.


Universities receive their income from a wide range of sources. However, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ and so if one funder is dominant, because they are the major funder or the most prestigious funder, then university focus and direction setting can be compromised.

Major funders include government, students and commercial companies while the most prestigious funders include philanthropists, charities, foundations, professional bodies, trade bodies and overseas development agencies. Major funders tend to provide relatively stable funding whereas prestigious funders can provide income that is more variable over relatively short periods of time.

This session will discuss three topics. First, the influence of funders on university autonomy; second, risks associated with particular funders and third, possible responses to a downturn in income, with a focus on the value of partnership of various kinds. Under the third topic, particular attention will be paid to outsourcing. This provides a means of cost control but makes it harder to reduce costs if income falls.

Key questions and takeaways:

  • Can partnerships with other academic ‘suppliers’ provide academic unbundling?
  • Does an international unbundling partnership dilute local impact?
  • What problems can large injections of funding in developing nation HE sectors present and how are these dealt with?
  • What can universities do to protect themselves against major funding shifts as governments collide?

This session will provide attendees not only with food for thought but examples of practical experience that can inform future ‘at scale’ decisions on funding.


  • Professor Sir Paul Curran, President, City – University of London, UK (Chair)
  • Erik Bloom, Senior Social Sector Specialist, Asian Development Bank, USA
  • Rob Carthy, Director of International Development, Northumbria University, UK
  • Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Emanuela di Gropello, Manager, Corporate and Human Development Unit, Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), World Bank Group, USA 
  • Yagna Vipool Karia, Student – Bachelor of Laws, Taylor’s University, Kenya
  • Viniti Premchand Punjabi, Student – Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Services Management, Taylor’s University, Indonesia
  • Cynthia Evinda Putrimeida, Student – Bachelor of Business, Taylor’s University, Indonesia