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Be connected newsletter for higher education - January 2021

22 January 2021

Welcome to be connected our quarterly update for Higher Education Institutions.

We aim to provide content that offers you real value and relevant, useful information from our national team of legal and HR experts.

be connected is your space. Please help us to help you by providing your feedback and letting us know what you would like to see featured in a future edition.

In this edition we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.

Legal updates

New year, new-ish state aid rules: the new subsidy control regime

In December the UK and EU reached an agreement in principle with the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Funding bodies must now grapple with the UK’s legal obligations related to state aid/subsidy control emanating from this. Until a formal subsidy regime is put in place in the UK, this could be a complex and challenging exercise. In this briefing note, Alex Kynoch provides a detailed review of the new regime and looks at the new principles a subsidy must comply with.

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Lateral flow testing of university students

Guidance on students returning to, and starting higher education, in spring 2021 requires universities to set a clear expectation that all students should access Covid-19 testing. However, following the roll-out of lateral flow testing in secondary schools, the MHRA have refused to approve this method. In this article, health and safety experts Steph McGarry and Daisy May Coster-Hollis look at the consequences of this, and what it might mean for the return to campus.

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The KEF (Knowledge Exchange Framework)

Knowledge is power and this is true when we talk about the Knowledge Exchange Framework but why is that and why is KEF so important to the higher education sector?

In this article, commercial specialist Selina Hinchliffe looks at the challenges of the KEF and puts forward two practice points for you to consider.

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The new procurement regime

As many of you will be aware, the Cabinet Office published its much-anticipated Green Paper on 15 December 2020. The proposals are out to consultation until 10 March 2021 and we have been running a series of webinars and working groups, looking at the proposals in more detail and particularly how different groups of interested parties are affected. Here are some of the initial thoughts we have collated specifically relevant to the HE sector.

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What happens after a death by suicide?

The death of a student for any reason is a difficult and emotional time for everyone involved, from university staff to other students and of course the parents of the young person. In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in R (on the application of Maughan) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire we focus on what happens after a death by suicide.

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Higher education digital transformation

To reflect the rest of the modern world a digital transformation is necessary in many areas of academia. The last 12 months have seen radical changes in how universities deliver learning to students, this online revolution has sadly been forced upon us by a pandemic, but many universities were already on this digital journey.

Since the switch to online learning a common dilemma across universities and other HEIs has been the practicality of uploading recorded lectures online, and the desire to ensure student engagement. In this article we look at how technology can support this, whilst also highlighting some of the risks and legal concerns.

Read more >

Webinars and online events

Procurement law reform. Watch on-demand now.

As mentioned above, in December, the Government finally launched its Green Paper on its proposals for reform of the public sector procurement system. In this webinar (now available on demand) our specialist procurement team cover the core principles of procurement, look at the proposed procedures and framework and guide you through your legal obligations under the new system.

View our video on Youtube >

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Training and events


Diversity in spinouts, start-ups and early stage funding Online

Women may have broken down many of society’s professional and personal barriers, but significant gender disparity remains in the research and development community. In this webinar, we are joined by those bucking the national trend to investigate why this is not necessarily the case in knowledge exchange.

View event

Focus on...

Legal updates

Exam appeals guidance released

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) this week published the appeals guidance for grades awarded this summer.


University spinouts and joint ventures – developing your in-house expertise

Catch up on this on-demand video where intellectual property expert Selina Hinchliffe and corporate specialist Sam Sharp discussed spinouts and joint ventures providing significant commercial opportunities for universities to capitalise on their research and innovation expertise.


Legal updates

be connected newsletter for higher education - April 2021

In this edition of our higher education newsletter, we provide you with the latest in legal updates, news and insight from the higher education sector.


Legal updates

Responding to supplier administrations

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial pressure that many companies are currently under may prove insurmountable. The financial support schemes cannot go on indefinitely and, when they are removed, it is likely that we will see the number of insolvencies increase.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Bettina Rigg

Bettina Rigg

Partner and Head of Higher Education

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