Russell Group response to overseas aid budget vote

14 July 2021

In response to the vote in Parliament to keep the budget for international development at 0.5% of national income (13 July), Stephanie Smith, Head of Policy (Research and International) at the Russell Group, said:

"We are disappointed that the overseas aid budget will not be maintained this year and while we recognise the difficult economic circumstances facing Government, the fact that the resulting cuts to programmes like the Global Challenges Research Fund are in-year makes them even more challenging.

"It means a lot of good work is being undone with live projects and work being stopped altogether or drastically scaled back. A lot of this research is focused on tackling issues like infectious diseases, climate change, or poverty which change people’s lives and do not respect international borders. Inevitably the UK’s global reputation will be affected.

"The Government has made an important commitment to increase research spending to £22bn by 2025. It is now essential that it works with the sector to consider how that growing budget can maximise the global impact of our world leading R&D sector, support our international ambitions and foster collaboration with other countries to tackle the major issues facing society."

Further information

  • Newcastle University has the largest UKRI-funded GCRF portfolio for 2021-22 and hence the greatest exposure to the cuts amongst UK universities.
  • Newcastle hosts two of the UK’s 12 Interdisciplinary GCRF Hubs – one in Water Sustainability and one in River Deltas. These hubs have 90 partners in 24 low-middle income countries and involve more than 300 researchers, addressing key issues in climate change adaptations and UNSDGs for water.
  • At the University of Manchester, the South Asia Self Harm project looking to better understand and respond the nature of deliberate self harm in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) such as India and Pakistan has been significantly reduced.
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  • Stephanie Smith

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