The Budget 2014

19 March 2014

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

“We warmly welcome the increase in the funding for science. Discoveries at our universities have generated billions in returns to the economy and the investment in both doctoral training centres and catapult centres will reap rewards for the country in the long term.

“It is important the Government considers carefully where these new centres should be based. Critical mass and high concentrations of excellent research in our world-class universities maximise impact and potential and should be rewarded.

“We also welcome their commitment to look at the best way of increasing participation in postgraduate studies and look forward to discussing this further. Postgraduate students are essential to a successful knowledge economy and the future academic workforce, but we are worried about future funding. It is important that the UK can compete with other countries in trying to attract the brightest and best postgraduate students. And that competition is hotting up as our international competitors are investing heavily in research, innovation and higher education.”

Notes to editors:

  1. In today’s Budget £42 million has been earmarked for the Alan Turing big data institute over the next five years.
  2. New centres for doctoral training will get an additional £30 million in 2014-15 and £30 million again in 2015-16.
  3. New catapult centres will get £5 million in 2014-15 and £20 million in 2015-16.
  4. UK public spending on higher education and research trails far behind competitors like the US and China. Our universities are already having to do more with less because of the flat cash settlement for research funding which has been in place since 2010.
  5. The UK spends 1.72% of GDP on R&D, according to the latest OECD figures for 2012 which were updated last week. This is down from 1.78% in 2011.  Countries such as France, Germany, Korea and the US all increased investment and all already invest more in research as a proportion of GDP than the UK: France 2.26%, Germany 2.92%, US 2.79%, Korea 4.36% (OECD GERD figures for 2012).


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