The government has announced a package of measures to protect the jobs of highly skilled researchers and technicians working at UK universities. The Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that research-active universities that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access long term, low interest loans, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, covering up to 80% of their income losses caused by any decline in international students. A £280million package will also be made immediately available from the government and from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to support R&D projects.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “We welcome the government’s commitment to the UK university sector, particularly in providing funds to support vital ongoing research and development projects. This will help to compensate for a reduction in income and the impact of the pandemic on R&D partnerships with companies.

“The COVID-19 crisis has thrown into stark relief the vital role that engineering R&D has to play in the UK’s future, not only in responding to current and immediate future challenges of the pandemic, but also in driving the economic recovery, building back better, decarbonising our economy and enabling the nation to pursue its goal of becoming a global science and innovation superpower. We hope that these important near-term stabilisation measures will firm up the foundation to realise the government’s longer-term ambition for a knowledge driven economy.”

The government has also announced that UK Research & Innovation and the National Academies will receive some funds for costed extensions of some grants that were due to finish in the 2020-21 financial year, to help realise the benefits of activities disrupted by the pandemic. The Academy will contact eligible grant holders once details of these arrangements are confirmed.

Notes for Editors

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

What we do

TALENT & DIVERSITY

We’re growing talent by training, supporting, mentoring and funding the most talented and creative researchers, innovators and leaders from across the engineering profession.

We’re developing skills for the future by identifying the challenges of an ever-changing world and developing the skills and approaches we need to build a resilient and diverse engineering profession.

INNOVATION

We’re driving innovation by investing in some of the country’s most creative and exciting engineering ideas and businesses.

We’re building global partnerships that bring the world’s best engineers from industry, entrepreneurship and academia together to collaborate on creative innovations that address the greatest global challenges of our age.

POLICY & ENGAGEMENT

We’re influencing policy through the National Engineering Policy Centre – providing independent expert support to policymakers on issues of importance.

We’re engaging the public by opening their eyes to the wonders of engineering and inspiring young people to become the next generation of engineers.

For more information please contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 0207 766 0636

E: Jane Sutton

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