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Research Strategy

HESA’s core mission is to support the advancement of higher education across all nations of the UK through the data it collects, assures and disseminates. We undertake research to advance public knowledge and understanding of UK higher education, and to improve our own outputs in the public interest.

As a producer of Official Statistics we comply with the Code of Practice for statistics and seek to improve the trustworthiness, quality and value of the statistics that we produce.

As the Designated Data Body under the Higher Education and Research Act we are obliged to compile and publish appropriate information about higher education providers in England. We perform a similar official role in supporting the statutory funders and regulators of higher education in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Our Research Strategy aligns with our statutory and charitable objectives and our corporate strategy. Through our research activity, we seek to:

Increase our knowledge and use of external sources that collect information on higher education

We are constantly evaluating the quality of our data and statistics. Examining other sources of data is one way that we can assess the accuracy and reliability of our own data.

By analysing other sources of data, we can explore the potential for linking HESA records to external datasets.

Where linking is feasible it can allow us to create richer datasets for use by researchers and policymakers.

It also enables us to examine ways to reduce the data collection burden on higher education providers, students and graduates. 

Contribute to HESA’s analytical capability

Undertaking research offers our staff the opportunity to learn new techniques in their analysis, which can then be used more widely in the Agency’s work.

Our research activity facilitates the application of new and innovative methods that help us to operate more efficiently, while also driving the evolution of our statistical publications.

We look for opportunities to collaborate with external organisations to deliver our research whenever it is appropriate. Through knowledge exchange and collaborative training, our research work contributes to staff development both inside HESA and beyond.  

Support public understanding and decision making

To achieve our core mission and vision, our data must reach the stakeholders, decision makers, and the wider public in order to have any impact.

Our research activity supports this outcome by studying and reporting on issues that matter to people and producing outputs that assist decision making.

View HESA's research outputs

Read about HESA's research impact