Russell Group response to Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021

27 October 2021

After the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 to Parliament today (27 October 2021), Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Chair of the Russell Group and President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said:

“The Government has rightly recognised that world-leading research and innovation will be crucial both to driving a strong, sustainable recovery and to tackling transformational issues such as delivering Net-Zero. In a challenging economic climate, it is very welcome that the Chancellor has today confirmed long-term plans to increase public funding for research, which will provide much needed certainty to private investors and help signal that the UK is serious about cementing its position as a science superpower.

“In particular, we are pleased that the Government has confirmed an early and continuing model for increasing public research funding, which will mean public investment rising over 35% by 2024/25. Increasing funding in a consistent and predictable way like this will help to leverage in more private investment earlier, boost business confidence and ultimately help to set the UK on a course to meet its ambition to invest 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027.

“Our universities will continue to work closely with Government departments and businesses to drive private investment and maximise the impact of R&D, maintaining the strategic advantage we have in science and technology. Today’s announcements will create more high-value jobs and opportunity and represent an excellent investment for the Government and taxpayers: for every £1 of public research investment, Russell Group universities deliver £9 for the UK’s economy and society.”

Commenting, Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said:

“The Government’s commitment to growing research and innovation funding is an important recognition that the country’s future prosperity will depend on ideas and talent to deliver sustainable growth. This record scale up of funding will support innovation schemes with a track-record of delivering returns as well as long-term investment in basic research that drives cutting-edge scientific discoveries and early-stage investment in new ideas.

“With targeted support, there is a golden opportunity to nurture emerging vibrant innovation clusters based around centres of science and technological excellence at leading universities right around the country. Places like the advanced manufacturing centre in Sheffield, the science and technology hub in Newcastle and the ID Manchester innovation district can help revitalise our regional economies through high-level skills, jobs and investment.

“The pandemic has shown the critical importance of investment in research across the widest possible range of disciplines. The UK's expertise in social sciences, mathematical modelling, human behaviour research and many other fields have been at the core of our response, alongside excellence in medical and other sciences. This multidisciplinary approach is a real strength of the UK and one that can be brought to bear on other major challenges such as Net-Zero and levelling up.

“Today's investment announcements are a welcome boost for the UK science base. Our universities are ready to play their part, working with Government, businesses and local partners of all sizes to ensure research and innovation is translated into tangible benefits for individual citizens across the country and for the economy as a whole.”

Read the Russell Group's submission to the Spending Review 2021: "Science, Innovation and Skills, a smart investment for Britain"


(Image: Flickr/Number10Gov, CC-BY-NC-ND)

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