University Alliance responds to science investment announced in Autumn Statement 2014

Today in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced the results of the Government’s Science & Research Capital Consultation outlining how it will spend £5.9 billion of science research capital from now until 2020/2021.

University Alliance welcomes this support for science and research demonstrating the government’s continuing commitment to invest in excellent research, wherever it is found.

Professor Andrew Wathey, Lead Vice-Chancellor for Research Policy​,​ University Alliance, and​ Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Northumbria University, added:

“As the ​Chancellor has today acknowledge​d,​ it​ is​ vital to invest in our research base to ensure that the UK remains amongst the world’s top scientific nations. But predicting market changes is an inexact science and we need to make sure ​we are creating the right environment that allow​s​ growth sectors, particularly​ those supported by research​ within our universities, to thrive.

“This is why the dual funding system for research, which includes the flexibility for universities to invest in new areas, remains critical to the dynamism and responsiveness of UK research and has been proven to drive quality. It allows for universities to invest in their areas of strength, across the spectrum of research activities and in collaboration with a large variety of industrial and other partners.

“University Alliance will be paying close attention to the government’s Science and Innovation strategy being released later this week. We urge the government to continue to ensure that public funding follows excellence wherever it exists, to drive innovation and secure the future success of our universities and of the UK.

“On capital, it is important that all universities are supported because world-class research is taking place in all universities. It is very important that capital allocations encourage competitiveness that recognises excellence of all kinds and require universities to be transparent in the ways they use funding to build research excellence.

“In these financially difficult times it is vital that we maximise the impact of limited public investment. This is why the results of the REF 2014 exercise, expected later this month, are important – not only for their influence on the QR-related element of the dual funding system for research but also for the international attention that they will focus on the UK’s research base.”

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