I don’t tire of the arguments around MOOCs. MOOCs are just the start of a process of examining how student teaching could be improved and made cheaper. There is a lot of room for both. The Economist this week has a leader entitled ‘Creative Destruction‘ (well, at least it wasn’t ‘disruption redux’) and a Briefing article: The future of universities: the digital degree. All well and good. What was missing however, was any consideration of how changes in teaching provision will feed through to research. Many —if not most— UK institutions use teaching moneys to cross subsidise research. Research buys kudos, but rarely do funders pay for the full cost of research (even with overheads added in). This is a particular problem for medicine, where much research is charity funded. Unit costs of research are going to rise.