This is a time of great change in universities. There are already more potential students than places, and a possibility of an increase to tuition fees after the election. Pressure is also growning on universities due to stronger assessments of the impact they are making on the economy as a whole, which in turn is leading to claims from those in the humanities that arts subjects will lose out to the sciences in the future. In addition, emerging nations such as China and India are producing many more graduates than previously to feed their growing economies, and questions arise as to the ways in which our own students and institutions can keep pace. Rana Mitter chairs a round table discussion on the ways in which universities and the academic community will respond to the demands of a changing economy.