Annual budget allocations for university-led research is at a “record high” as it is confirmed university-led research will receive an additional £91 million.
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore announced a budget of £2.2 billion in research funding for English universities for 2019-2020.
This amounts to an overall increase of £91 million, including an additional £45 million for quality-related research (QR) funding, which is a 2.3% rise.
The move is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to boost R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. As a result, annual budget allocations for university-led research is at a record high.
The rise in funding includes additional contributions from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), supporting universities in implementing the government’s Industrial Strategy.
Mr Skidmore said: “I am delighted that for the first time since 2010, we have a significant uplift in QR funding for universities. One of my personal priorities has been to place universities at the heart of innovation for the future and I’m pleased to have worked to deliver on this.
“This announcement today marks an important recognition of university research and the need to invest more in flexible, curiosity-driven research that has tremendous benefits to developing our international standing as a research powerhouse.
“Increased investment in research and development is a key ambition of the government which has committed to 2.4% GDP spent on R&D by 2027 – a vital part of our industrial strategy. The government has already committed to investing an additional £7 billion on R&D by 2021, the largest increase for 40 years.
“One of my personal priorities has been to place universities at the heart of innovation for the future and I’m pleased to have worked to deliver on this.”
One of my personal priorities has been to place universities at the heart of innovation for the future and I’m pleased to have worked to deliver on this
– Chris Skidmore
Funding is allocated in line with universities’ research strengths which is measured through periodic quality assurance reviews.
It is expected that the funding will facilitate an increased capacity for universities to invest in people, partnerships and infrastructure necessary to deliver cutting-edge research.
Previously, funding has supported the Cancer Research Centre at the University of Manchester, improving clinical care and treatment for cancer patients. At Royal Holloway, University of London, funding has also been used to carry out research into cyber security issues across different industries.
Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK), commented: “This is a significant investment into the future of research in the UK, and a positive step towards the government’s target to invest 2.4% of GDP into R&D.
“Quality-related research funding plays a key role in developing new talent, strengthening research culture and building the skilled workforce the UK needs if we are to perform effectively as a modern knowledge economy.
“With many of the greatest research discoveries and advances having evolved from curiosity-driven research, it is critical that we continue to invest across all subject disciplines.”