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Enable institutes of technology to gain royal charter status and regius professorships

Last updated: 12:12pm 10 January 2019

They will be able to gain royal charter status and regius professorships in technical education.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.52

Our verdict

The government has pledged to overhaul the existing technical education system to better provide skills required by the country’s employers. Their strategy for doing this was outlined in the strategy document, Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future, published in 2017. One part of the process is to establish new institutes of technology in every major city in England to reform and boost technical education up to the highest levels of qualification. It is hoped these institutions will offer students an alternative pathway to a skilled job, alongside more academic routes.

This policy pledge is about those institutes of technology being eligible for royal charter status and regius professorships.

Royal charters are granted by the Queen and are usually given to “bodies that work in the public interest and which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their particular field”. They are effectively badges of quality. Regius professorships are honours bestowed by the Queen to recognise excellence, historically restricted to a handful of universities but in recent years extended to a broader range.

The government has set in motion the process of establishing the new institutes of technology. Stage one of the competition for funding to open an institute is complete and 16 potential providers have been invited to progress to stage two. According to the government’s timetable, the new institutes will open in 2019.

With the timetable in place, we’re marking this policy as ‘in progress’. Once the institutes are open and eligible to gain royal charters and regius professorships, we will be able to move it to ‘done’. Watch this space!

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