This report draws on a substantial body of research undertaken by the Open University's Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI) on the changing relationships between higher education and society. Higher education currently faces many changes, some externally driven by government policies and changing patterns of social and economic demand and some internally driven by changes in the way knowledge is produced and organised within universities and other 'knowledge organisations'. CHERI examines these changes through empirical research which is policy relevant though not policy dictated, frequently international, and broadly focused on the social impacts of higher education. Does higher education make a difference and to whom? In their different ways, the articles in this report seek to provide answers to this important but difficult question.