Response to the HEFCE grant letter

10 February 2014

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

“We are pleased that ministers have maintained their commitment to university research, which is so critically important.  HEFCE’s funding underpins research excellence in the UK.  We also welcome the confirmation of the Government’s stated promise to increase funding to universities for teaching high cost science courses, as well as essential funding for teaching capital.

“It is now vital that HEFCE makes the right decisions in allocating its teaching funding for 2014-15. The Government gave clear assurances at the time of the Autumn Statement that they were committed to increasing STEM funding from 2015-16 and beyond. STEM subjects cost extra money to deliver and current levels of funding are not adequate to cover the additional costs.

“We urge HEFCE not to cut HEIF funding - particularly in the wake of the recommendations from Sir Andrew Witty’s recent review.  We are glad the Government recognises the importance of this money which kick starts innovation up and down the country. Government investment in HEIF results in a six-fold return on investment and that return is greater when focused on the most research intensive universities.

“We also hope the Government will deliver on its reassurances that the expansion of the sector would be fully funded.  Good teaching requires proper levels of investment.

“We welcome confirmation that QR funding, money for research that goes directly to universities, is being protected for 2014-15. Despite tough circumstances the Government has made the right decision. The autonomy it provides allows universities to develop and maintain the research base and pursue long-term curiosity-driven research that produces the biggest pay-offs in the end.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Russell Group received a letter from David Willetts following the Autumn Statement in which he said the additional funding for science should represent an increase in funding per student for existing STEM places. Please see our statement at the time.


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