Comprehensive Spending Review 2015

08 September 2015

In the context of continuing austerity the priority of any deficit reduction plan is balanced and sustainable economic growth.

Our submission sets out the opportunities for building a resilient economy and creating highly-skilled jobs that come from investing in world-class research, innovation and higher education. The positive impacts would be felt immediately and continue to deliver across the country for decades to come.

The Russell Group submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review calls on the Government to:

  • Strengthen the pipeline for growth and jobs by increasing investment in excellent science, research and innovation, boosting this as a proportion of GDP
  • Continue to ring-fence the science and research resource budget and maintain the dual support system – ensuring the UK can compete internationally
  • Underpin future growth by ensuring research-intensive universities are properly funded to deliver excellent education, including in high-cost STEM subjects.

Our universities continue to work efficiently and maximise returns on public investment. However, any further cuts to funding would be entirely counterproductive for the long-term health of the economy and risk losing the UK’s competitive advantage.

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

“Our world-class universities are powerhouses of growth, generating an economic output in excess of £32 billion a year. They are vital strategic assets for the UK that need sustained investment to thrive.

“Russell Group universities produce world-leading research which drives efficiency savings, boosts productivity, and creates innovative high-growth businesses and highly-skilled jobs.

“The Government can secure and build on the economic recovery with long-term investment in science, research and innovation, and maintaining the excellence of the UK’s higher education system."

Notes to Editors

  1. The UK’s spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP was 1.63% in 2013. This is well below the EU average of 2.02%, the spending of 2.08% by China (up from 1.98% in 2012) and the US investment of 2.73% (up from 2.70% in 2012). Sources: and
  2. Under the dual support system for university research the higher education Funding Councils provide core annual funding for institutions to support their strategic research priorities, while Research Councils, charities, the European Union and government departments provide grants for specific research projects and programmes.

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review

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