The book is a rich empirical account of funding and quality assurance systems (QAS) in higher education in Egypt and the UK. Interviews with 76 senior managers and academics allow key issues to be understood from the ‘inside’, perspectives which are interpreted through the concepts of autonomy, accountability, efficiency and equity. This theoretical framework is crucial in interpreting change in both countries and demonstrates the book’s relevance both for developing countries and OECD countries adopting similar systems of funding and QA. It is all the more valuable because of the impact of UK quality assurance systems in Egypt, a consequence of advice from UK consultants. Indeed, given the widespread ‘borrowing’ and ‘travelling’ of QA policy across borders, insights from this study have practical messages for others meeting the challenge of change. The analysis of how the overlapping contextual factors of governance and culture contribute to the impact of funding and QAS will not only be of interest to those researching higher education policy and education reform but also to those with a wider interest in mechanisms of public sector reform.