There has been quite a lot of speculation recently on the implications of last week’s budget for the UK Higher Education sector in general, and research funding in particular. ResearchResearch.com reports on two responses to this question:
Universities fearful of £400m cut to DIUS (accessible on campus or if you have an account)
Both express reservation at the cuts in DIUS’ budget, though UniversitiesUK is generally positive about the commitment to improving the UK skills base during the recession. The 1994 Group of smaller research intensive universities, which includes Bath, York and Leicester, are more critical, warning that any reduction in teaching and research capacity would be damaging for the UK economy in the long term.
On Twitter, @CameronNeylon – a chemist based at Southampton University – pointed out that Research Councils are expected to “save and re-invest” £106M (see p136). The re-investment must be made in “key areas of economic potential”, which could be taken to further underline HEFCE’s commitment to ringfencing funding for science and techonology subjects. One might also expect that funding will be shifted from standard responsive mode grants to RC strategic/priority areas. Whatever happens, it serves to highlight the ongoing Research Council commitment to funding research with a direct and measurable economic impact.