University Alliance have welcomed the PM’s commitment to underwrite in-flight European Research Council bids but calls for UKRI to ensure that this investment reflects and strengthens the full diversity of the sector.
The suite of policies announced on 8 August aim to protect scientific funding and encourage world-leading scientists into the UK post-Brexit. Among these, UKRI will review any Horizon 2020 bids stuck in the application process on October 31st, and invest in successful applications.
In response to the announcement, Vanessa Wilson, CEO, University Alliance said:
“The UK’s ‘science superpowers’ are drawn from a range of institutions and researchers. Whilst the PM’s commitment to strengthen our research economy is to be welcomed, it’s vital that this investment considers the full breadth of UK HE research excellence and talent.
“Historically, too many institutions have been locked out of the research council funding routes brought together under UKRI. The EU Framework programmes have provided a much-needed level playing field, and we will be urging UKRI to be committed and transparent on funding excellence where it is found.
“We are also calling on the government to ensure we have a post-Brexit immigration system that fully supports researcher mobility, by extending the welcome commitment to introduce fast-track visas for scientists to the postgraduate and early career researchers who are of vital importance to the UK research base.
“University Alliance has sought to remedy some of the issues with research council funding and support postgraduate researchers through our unique Doctoral Training Alliance model. Our DTA and DTA/3 researchers are using an inter-disciplinary approach to tackle some of the world’s most pressing concerns, from climate change, to conflict, to ageing populations.
“The government should seize the opportunity to champion and invest in a diverse research infrastructure that meets priority areas post-Brexit, or risk investing in a one-tier system that doesn’t utilise the rich multiplicity of HE institutions or researchers.”
The Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) is the UK’s largest cohort-based doctoral training programme of its kind. Launched by University Alliance in 2015, it builds on our universities’ research strengths and industry-focused ethos and is aimed at producing independent, highly-employable researchers with knowledge, expertise and skills in three strategically-important research areas: Energy, Social Policy and Applied Biosciences for health.
Alongside funding and the teaching and facilities within their own universities, researchers are able to access industry-related training and the support and advice of students and academics from all 20 partner universities. University Alliance wants to ensure that in a post-Brexit world, innovative projects like the DTA continue to be funded and championed.