University research to receive major funding boost

Universities and Science Minister confirms an additional £91 million for university-led research

• £2.2 billion research funding for English universities for 2019 to 2020 announced today to help translate our researchers best ideas into reality

• an overall increase of £91 million including an additional £45 million for quality-related research (QR) funding – representing a real-terms increase of 2.3%

• the move forms part of government’s Industrial Strategy commitment to boost R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 – the highest ever level of R&D investment in the UK

Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore has today (Tuesday 2 July) confirmed an additional £91 million for university-led research, taking the annual budget allocations for university-led research to a record high.

Research and development is at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, and today’s increase means universities in England will receive £2.2 billion in the 2019 to 2020 academic year to support their research. Funding forms part of the government’s overall aim to boost spending on R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027; the UK’s highest recorded level ever.

Additional funding includes a real-terms uplift of 2.3% for mainstream quality-related research (QR) funding. The money for university research was announced today by Research England in its annual budget allocations.

The additional funding will give universities more capacity to invest in the people, partnerships and infrastructure that are essential for delivering cutting-edge research that brings real-world benefits. For example, past funding has supported the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, based at the University of Manchester, that is improving clinical care and treatment for cancer patients, and the funding underpins the work of the Cyber Security Innovation at Royal Holloway, University of London, to carry out research into pressing cyber security problems across a number of industries. It is allocated in line with universities’ research strengths as measured through periodic quality assurance review.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

"I am delighted that for the first time since 2010, we have a significant uplift in QR funding for universities. One of my personal priorities has been to place universities at the heart of innovation for the future and I’m pleased to have worked to deliver on this.

"This announcement today marks an important recognition of university research and the need to invest more in flexible, curiosity-driven research that has tremendous benefits to developing our international standing as a research powerhouse.

"Increased investment in research and development is a key ambition of the government which has committed to 2.4% GDP spent on R&D by 2027 – a vital part of our industrial strategy. The government has already committed to investing an additional £7 billion on R&D by 2021, the largest increase for 40 years."

The increase includes additional contributions from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), supporting universities to implement the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Government investment in university research funding is now at a record high. This funding enables universities to play their fullest role in delivering on the government’s modern industrial strategy, helping to meet the Grand Challenges including the needs of the ageing society and moving to a cleaner, greener economy.

Commenting on the announcement of £91 million in additional university-driven research funding, including a £45 million increase in QR funding, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

"This is a significant investment into the future of research in the UK, and a positive step towards the government’s target to invest 2.4% of GDP into R&D.

"Quality-related research funding plays a key role in developing new talent, strengthening research culture and building the skilled workforce the UK needs if we are to perform effectively as a modern knowledge economy.

"With many of the greatest research discoveries and advances having evolved from curiosity-driven research, it is critical that we continue to invest across all subject disciplines."

The detailed budget allocations are available on the Research England website.