UCU fears over universities' ability to meet PM's demands on science

5 March 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today expressed concerns that science's ability to aid the UK's path to economic recovery could be threatened by new funding arrangements for universities.

The union welcomed the news that the unit of funding per student will continue to be maintained in real terms and that quality research had been recognised and rewarded throughout UK universities, including those without a traditional research base. However, it expressed concerns that despite a noble commitment to continue to fund science subjects, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) had cut funding for number of research-intensive institutions, including Imperial College London, at a time when science is a national priority.

Imperial College - one of the world's leading science-based research institutions - will see a 5.1% reduction in its research funding for 2009/2010. Although HEFCE is providing funding to cushion the loss of money for research, this only lasts for one year.

'We do not sign up to the idea that we should put a cap on excellence in this country.'
Sally Hunt

Last week the prime minister said that 'the economic role of science will be of even more importance than before' and that rather than becoming a victim of the recession, science should be developed as a 'key element of our path to recovery'.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'While we welcome the growth in research funding for many post-92 higher education institutions, all our universities need to have proper funding so they can continue to produce world-class research. We need to ensure that all institutions that have delivered high-quality research are encouraged to grow. We do not sign up to the idea that we should put a cap on excellence in this country.

'Gordon Brown is right to earmark science as a key area, especially during the current recession. However, in order for science to play a key role in helping lift the UK out of recession, it has to be properly supported in our universities.'


Main HEFCE research grant losers 2009-10

 

Total research funding (including transitional funding) 2009-10 £

change 2008-9 to 2009-10 £

change 2008-9 to 2009-10 %

Imperial College London

92,760,582

- 4,941,734

-5.1%

University of Reading

18,387,017

- 4,085,198

-18.2%

University of the Arts London

6,604,438

- 3,096,117

-31.9%

University of Southampton

44,594,199

- 3,023,506

-6.3%

London School of Economics and Political Science

16,181,218

- 2,124,759

-11.6%

Institute of Cancer Research

17,370,952

- 2,051,347

-10.6%

University of Surrey

16,112,830

- 1,897,097

-10.5%

University of Essex

9,966,894

- 1,347,585

-11.9%

University of Sussex

16,195,880

- 1,152,530

-6.6%

London Business School

3,601,230

- 1,131,751

-23.9%

Institute of Education

7,733,757

- 952,528

-11.0%

St George's Hospital Medical School

6,820,373

- 857,912

-11.2%

University of Salford

7,443,752

- 816,174

-9.9%

Royal Holloway, University of London

13,698,502

- 769,720

-5.3%

King's College London

59,431,070

- 555,969

-0.9%

Royal College of Art

2,412,310

- 487,511

-16.8%

Aston University

6,335,789

- 443,250

-6.5%

School of Oriental and African Studies

7,237,560

- 411,689

-5.4%

University of Bath

18,354,788

- 399,985

-2.1%

Courtauld Institute of Art

928,622

- 371,418

-28.6%

Buckinghamshire New University

368,622

- 317,166

-46.2%

Keele University

6,635,799

- 209,656

-3.1%

Goldsmiths College, University of London

8,538,947

- 178,893

-2.1%

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