University Alliance responds to Sir Adrian Smith Review call for evidence

departures board

Professor Sir Adrian Smith has been commissioned by the government to provide independent advice on the design of future UK funding schemes for international collaboration, innovation and research. The government has said they would like the option to associate to the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, but, in parallel, are exploring alternatives to deliver positive outcomes for science, research and innovation in the event that the UK does not associate. The advice from Sir Adrian Smith will also encompass global relationships and collaboration in research and innovation.

We provided a written response to the recent review call for evidence. These are some of the key points in relation three areas in our response to the call for evidence:

  1. On attracting outstanding researchers to the UK: EU framework programmes have added significant value through facilitating researcher mobility, and future frameworks should replicate and enhance the range of activity provided through Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). Postgraduate researchers are essential to the future capability of the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem, and must be nurtured and attracted to the UK across the full range of disciplines. As such, future frameworks should avoid a concentration of funding within postgraduate training support.
  2. On attracting research and development investment to the UK: The best research must be funded wherever it is found, and open competition should underpin every investment. A place-based approach to public investment in R&D recognises the value of connecting research and innovation to real-world economic, social and sustainability opportunities and challenges. It will also be important to maintain and increase opportunities for collaboration between academia and business.
  3. On optimum balance of emphasis for any new funding arrangements: Funding arrangements should mirror the main features of the agreement on the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ Programmes in order to ensure high-quality pan-European collaboration and a commitment to funding excellence wherever it is found.
  4. Funding and the number of calls should be increased to support collaboration with the countries identified in the Fund for International Collaboration (FIC) and directed to better support flexible, effective collaborations with impact.
  5. On Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding, there should be a clear commitment to increasing the funding for QR GCRF to allow for a broader range of projects to be delivered at scale, as well as a more considered timeline to enable institutions to take a more strategic approach. Creative solutions and greater collaboration is needed to alleviate inefficiencies and address the costs associated with developing overseas partnership, such as collaboration through regional hubs on GCRF.

You can read our full response here. It is anticipated interim findings will be presented to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministers in the Summer. To discuss our response, please contact Ellie Russell, Deputy Head of Policy

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