In response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget announcements yesterday, Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said:
“We looked at the Chancellor’s measures to support UK research and innovation with interest – in particular, the introduction of income-contingent loans of up to £25,000 to support PhDs and research-based masters degrees.
“We need to support people to pursue research careers. We have been concerned that the number of Research Council-funded studentships has decreased by 18 per cent since 2009 and welcome the fact that these new loans will make it possible for more people to study at doctoral level. And it is important that we develop new ways to fund and deliver this important training – including through universities working in partnership with each other and industry.
“For example, last week, we launched our new Doctoral Training Alliance. Alliance universities are working collaboratively on a new doctoral training scheme built around joint research strengths in Applied Biosciences for Health. This will involve industry in design and delivery to ensure that researchers emerge with skills relevant to industry.
“We also welcome the UK-wide competitive fund for new cutting-edge science facilities. Sustained investment is central to the success of the research and innovation ecosystem. But, as we argue in the report we launched last week, this money must be allocated through open competition to ensure the best possible return on investment.”