Budget 2012

21 March 2012

Commenting on today’s budget announcement Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“The research which takes place in our world-class universities drives long term and sustainable economic growth. But the first-rate infrastructure needed to facilitate the very best research and teaching cannot be bought on the cheap.

“Today’s Budget announcement of £100M for capital co-investment in university research facilities is a step in the right direction, especially following recent cuts to capital spending. 

“Our universities are already the partner of choice for thousands of leading businesses and have a strong track record of securing vital funding. We welcome the ambition to increase private sector funding – but this must be in addition to Government funding and not a replacement for it.

“Let’s not forget that our competitors are injecting vast amounts of cash into their universities and our leading universities are already under-resourced in comparison with our international competitors.

“We look forward to seeing more details on how this funding scheme will operate. In these difficult economic times every pound must work hard so we hope the Government will maximise the impact of this investment by directing it at those institutions which already have a critical mass of world leading researchers.

“World-class universities, with their heavy concentration of brainpower, established excellence, and the sheer numbers and facilities to achieve global impact, are best placed to attract investment by leading global companies.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Russell Group’s report on the economic impact of research at leading universities can be viewed here. It gives examples of breakthroughs at Russell Group universities which have generated nearly £2bn in revenue, clearly showing that investment in leading research is an indispensible component of the UK’s economic competitiveness, and the key to its future growth.
  2. Current Russell Group members have a total economic output of £22.3 billion a year and equivalent of 40 per cent of the total output for the sector. They are responsible for supporting 243,000 jobs UK-wide and are a major UK export industry, with overseas earnings of more than £2billion per annum - 38 per cent of total export earnings for the sector.

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