Russell Group warns of EU research funding threat

05 February 2013

The Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities has warned that the UK's success in winning European research funding may be threatened by Thursday's European Council budget negotiations. 

In an open letter, signed by Russell Group Vice-Chancellors and published in today's Financial Times (Tuesday 5 February), urges the Prime Minister to "argue in Europe for the approach which he has successfully delivered in the UK: to protect a strong research budget within a lower overall settlement."

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“For leading universities, European funding isn’t a top-up, but a key – and irreplaceable – part of our research income. 

“The UK leads Europe in the quality of our research. Our researchers have won far more awards from the European Research Council (ERC) than our nearest competitor: 761 compared with Germany’s 467.

“The benefits to the UK are clear. This research income helps create jobs, fight disease, tackle climate change and so much more.
“If research grants are slashed to subsidise European agriculture, Britain will lose out.

“Our politicians must champion research and innovation in Brussels. The economic and social benefits of the UK’s world-class university research are well worth fighting for.”  

The full letter can be viewed in the Financial Times.

Notes to editors

The letter was signed by:

Prof David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and chair of the Russell Group
Prof Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol
Prof Sir Leszek Borysiewiecz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Prof Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University
Prof Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University
Prof Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
Prof Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter
Prof Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow
Prof Sir Rick Trainor, Principal and President of King’s College London
Prof Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds
Prof Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool
Prof Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science
Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester
Prof Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University
Prof David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham
Prof Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Prof Simon Gaskell, Principal of Queen Mary, University of London
Prof Sir Peter Gregson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast
Prof Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield
Prof Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton
Prof Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of University College London
Prof Nigel Thrift, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick
Prof Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York.

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