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Universities Minister to be quizzed on implications of #AugarReview for science research funding

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On Tuesday 18th June and Wednesday 19th June the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will take evidence for its inquiry on science research funding in universities.

The Committee will question representatives from UKRI, Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court.

University finances are already under significant pressure. If tuition fees are cut, as recommended by the Augar Review, and teaching grants are not made up in full, this could have severe consequences for the ability of universities to conduct vital scientific research.

In the first session on Tuesday 18th June, the Committee will explore with UKRI and Lord Macpherson what difficulties universities might face if the Augar Review recommendations are implemented whilst also considering other issues such as why QR funding is falling and how Brexit might impact research funding from EU sources.

The session will begin at 10:25am in Committee Room 4a of the House of Lords. The witnesses are:

  • Dr Alex Marsh, Deputy Director of Strategy, UKRI
  • David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, UKRI

At 11:25am the Committee will then question:

  • Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court, former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury

Questions likely to be asked across both sessions include:

  • Why has QR funding been falling as a proportion of Research Council funding?
  • To what extent is it expected that universities will have to obtain funding from elsewhere to make up the full economic cost of research, when QR funding is not enough?
  • What  is the likelihood that the Government will implement the whole package of Augar’s recommendations?

In the second session on Wednesday 19th June, the Committee will ask the Minister if the Government is aware of the potential issues for universities if the recommendations of the Augar Review are implemented and what the Government is doing to support the research community.

The session will begin at 3:45pm in Committee Room 4A. Questions likely to be asked include:

  • Why has QR funding been falling as a proportion of Research Council funding and is this a conscious decision?
  • Will the Government implement some or all of Augar’s recommendations? If not all, which ones and why?
  • Will the amount of money going to universities via UKRI increase as part of the UK’s commitment to investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027?
  • How will the Government ensure there are enough researchers entering the system via PhDs, in order to meet the UK’s R&D target?
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