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Jisc and HESA discuss integration


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Two of the organisations for digital and data infrastructures in higher education have announced that they talking about a possible merger.

Jisc, the not-for-profit technology solutions provider, and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the charity that is the recognised source of data on the sector, said they are in discussion about an integration.

It points to a further consolidation of efforts in the sector after Jisc’s merger with Eduserv.

The announcement said that Jisc and HESA believe their complementary strengths can provide better services, help to manage subscriptions and enhance their impact on higher education in the UK.

Conversations are at an early stage and the detail needs to be worked through. This includes consulting with key stakeholders, assessing what it means in reality for each organisation and ensuring the status of HESA as the designated data body is protected.

They have a history of working together on services such as Heidi Plus to deliver business intelligence for higher education providers, the public sector and charities. The 2017 Bell Review of higher education sector agencies pointed towards more consolidation.

Jisc chief executive Paul Feldman (pictured) said: “Jisc’s vision is for a digitally advanced lifelong learning nation, transformed by technology. The availability and use of data is critical to realising this, so integration with HESA offers greater potential to create and innovate together as well as deliver an even stronger offer and better value for our members. Among potential benefits could be new data insights and sector performance diagnostics.”

HESA chief executive Paul Clark said: “I believe that UK HE has the potential to enhance its global position through the effective use of digital and data driven enhancements. Building on our existing work with Jisc, this closer integration will be the first step in realising these ambitions.”

The announcement comes soon after Jisc’s merger with social enterprise Eduserv, which specialises in digital transformation in local government, public bodies, healthcare, charities, higher education and emergency services. This has been conveyed as a move to give the organisations a greater impact on digital public services.

Jisc operates the superfast Janet network for higher education and research, along with negotiating sector-wide deals with IT vendors and providing assistance on digital technology. HESA collects, analyses and disseminates statistics on UK higher education.

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