I think definitions of "excellence" is really important. The report talks about "R&D excellence" - but what actually is R&D excellence.
I agree that excellence can mean a lot of things, and it interacts with scale. For me, a small pocket of truly excellent research can achieve something significant with the right conditions, whereas government often wants to see 'excellence' as lots of people doing research in an area.
Dan King (Research Consulting)
Regarding "local views" (residents, businesses, etc) on the value of universities, from various projects I still perceive a mismatch between what the university *thinks* is important/valued and what the local population *see and feel* about things.
Many of the sectors where universities can demonstrate public engagement - eg. creative and cultural organisations will be perhaps hardest to re-engage with post COVID-19. Is there an opportunity for building on the regional brands to develop a pitch? Great topic - sorry to have to bow out to another call!
Really useful start to thinking through about this - thanks.