@UniversitiesUK has today (16 Mar) written to the government seeking urgent clarity on the future of funding for UK science and research.

Although the government’s Integrated Review – published today (16 Mar) – reaffirms its aim to secure the UK’s position as a global science superpower, the announcement coincides with reports that the government is preparing to significantly cut the budget for research.

This comes hard on the heels of a confirmed £120 million shortfall for research funded from the overseas development budget, which has forced universities across the country to abandon current research projects with international partners.

Writing in a letter to the Prime Minister, Professor Julia Buckingham, President, Universities UK said:

“…[universities] are increasingly alarmed by reports that the Treasury has not made funding available to support the UK’s association to Horizon Europe.

“If this position is maintained, it will amount to an effective cut in excess of £1 billion, equivalent to cutting more than 18,000 full-time academic research posts and weakening the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for talented researchers and private and foreign investment. It will also undermine the credibility of the government’s expressed ambitions to provide global scientific leadership, set out in today’s Integrated Review.”

The letter concludes by urging the Prime Minister to intervene in discussions between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury, to prevent this outcome.

Other points made in the letter:

  • A £1 billion reduction in domestic research funding is roughly equivalent to the total research and innovation budgets of the Medical Research Council and Science and Technology Facilities Council combined.
  • It would also lead to a further reduction of up to £1.6 billion in private R&D investment which would have been stimulated through public investment.
  • The cut comes at a time when the UK’s largest international competitors – including the United States and China – are currently ramping up their investment in science.

The government’s Integrated Review, published today, highlights the critical importance of research and innovation in securing the UK’s national security and future prosperity.

While universities welcome these ambitions, there are concerns that the rhetoric is not matched by the reality.

Indicative scale of the cuts compared to current research council budgets

  • According to the UKRI Corporate Plan for 2020-21, the total research and innovation budget for UKRI was £5.747 billion.
  • Of that, the total R&I budget for the Medical Research Council (MRC) was projected to be £637m and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) was £451m.
  • This means that the likely £1 billion cuts to R&I funding that would be required if no additional funding is secured would be approximately equal to the total R&I budgets of the MRC and STFC (£1.09 billion).

Indicative scale of the cuts in terms of full-time research-only staff employed by UK universities

  • According to HESA, there were 42,080 full-time research-only staff employed at UK institutions in 2019–20.
  • The median salary for these staff in the £34,189-£45,892 range. Using the midpoint of this range gives an estimated salary of £40,040.
  • Employer costs (NI and pensions) are estimated at 35% – so an estimate for the per FTE cost is 40,040 x 1.35 = £54,054.
  • Therefore a £1 billion cut is equivalent to the total cost of 18,500 research staff - or 44% of the full-time research-only staff employed by UK universities.

    Multiplier effect of public investment in science and research

  • Research undertaken by Economic Insight on behalf of BIS (2015) found that an extra £1 of public funding for R&D gives rise to an increase in private funding of between £1.13 and £1.60.
  • As such, a £1 billion cut in public investment could mean £1.6 billion less of private investment.

Cuts announced last week to funding for international research collaboration already pose a significant challenge to our reputation and relationships with partners in developing nations. Last week’s announced cuts to ODA funded research leave a £120 million gap between the commitments that have already been made to projects which are currently underway, and the funding available. As a result universities across the country are having to suspend research projects before they have produced results, cut staff and withdraw from important international research partnerships in areas like infectious disease and climate change.

Universities are also urging government to back the statement of intent set out in the IR by making a clear and unambiguous commitment to properly funding our participation in Horizon Europe and restating its commitment to grow public investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page