Russell Group expresses dismay at serious reductions in Research Council budgets

28 February 2007

The Russell Group of Universities has expressed dismay that a sudden and unexpected announcement of a £68 million cut in Research Council budgets could thwart hundreds of key UK research projects.

The unforeseen announcement by the Department of Trade and Industry means budgets for the current spending review period will be reduced in order to meet expenditure problems elsewhere in the Department.

Professor Malcolm Grant, Chairman of the Russell Group and President and Provost of UCL said:


"The loss of these funds will be extremely detrimental to the UK's research effort and to the Government's own goal of greater economic competitiveness. It looks likely that this will prevent hundreds of phd students from embarking on pioneering research which is crucial to the UK's ability to rise to key challenges such as climate change, skills shortages and the demands of a successful knowledge economy.

"We are alarmed, not just by the cuts themselves, but also by the abrupt and arbitrary way they were made. This sudden raid on research funds undermines stability, long-term planning and strategic decision-making which is crucial to the creation of a healthy research environment. It is unreasonable that vital funds are suddenly withdrawn from researchers simply to prop up less successful DTI initiatives.

"The Russell Group is urging the government to rethink these reductions. We also need an assurance that they will not be repeated in future years. It is essential that funds allocated by the Chancellor for research will indeed be spent on research or we risk sending out the clear message that the UK is no longer committed to facilitating world class research and development."

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