In this podcast I talk with Ed Smith, who is Deputy Chairman at HEFCE, the Higher Education funding body of England. Ed draws on twenty years of professional experience in education in various roles, and in this podcast discusses his personal views on Higher Education in the UK. We discuss whether the sector is currently facing a “perfect storm”, an idea elaborated in Demos’ recent report, The Edgeless University. Two aspects of the “perfect storm” particularly lend themselves to the adoption of technologies – the challenges around public funding in the economic downturn and universities having to do more with less resources as a result, and related to this, the growing diversity of student needs and expectations. Ed demonstrates his understanding of the role of technologies in higher education in terms of both the underlying ICT infrastructure and learning technologies specifically. We discuss what a technology-optimised university might look like and how it should be funded, ways in which the student – lecturer relationship could be transformed, and how to balance bottom-up adoption of technologies with the need for broader institutional strategies. We also look at the role of supra-institutional organisations such as JISC, the benefits of Open Access and Open Educational Resources, and explore whether the need for collaboration across Higher Education is compromised by competitive forces.