A Degree of Influence examines the level of foreign funding in British higher education. The report catalogues the financial donations from foreign governments to university subjects that are currently designated by the British government as ‘strategically important’. Focusing on financial contributions that are available on the public record to strategically important area and language studies that pertain to the study of the Middle East (including Islamic Studies), East Asia (including China and Japan), and the former Soviet Union, the report examines whether these donations have had a significant effect on higher education in the UK.
The report finds that, in all the strategic subjects studied, the bulk of the cash that is on public record as being injected into UK higher education comes from Arabic and Islamic sources. In addition, donations from the Chinese government, while not significant financially, have ensured a level of influence that is disproportionate to the money injected. Donations from Japanese and Russian governments and businesses are largely inconsequential, in terms of both money donated and influence acquired.