The UK’s top universities should continue to get the lion’s share of funding for research in the future, Skills Secretary John Denham has said.
He said he did not foresee public funding being “diluted” among all institutions.
Universities which have “pockets of excellence” in research could then be encouraged to work with other institutions to share and improve their knowledge and research.
Speaking after he addressed a conference on the future of higher education, he said: “We do not think the future is gradually diluting the concentration of research and spreading it thinly and evenly across the board.
“High levels of research concentration are going to be necessary in the future within institutions.”
Currently, the UK’s best institutions do receive the majority of funding set aside for research.
The results of last year’s Research Assessment Exercise, due to be published next week, are expected to continue this trend, with the best universities awarded high levels of funding and excellent departments in other institutions also rewarded.
If this continues in the future it could mean that other institutions, particularly the newer universities, could turn towards focussing on other areas such as providing more vocational qualifications.
Mr Denham said the university sector could need to do more to meet the needs of vocational students in the future.
The University of Warwick has been named the best institute in the region and eighth in the country for research in the assessment, with the University of Birmingham second in the region followed by Aston University in third place.