Underpinning our world-class research base – the importance of QR funding

24 March 2021

Quality-Related ‘QR’ funding is a highly competitive funding source which allows universities to engage in long-term strategic planning for research and to respond quickly to emerging opportunities, giving them an edge against international competitors.

This has been exemplified during the Covid-19 crisis, as universities were able to use QR funding to rapidly redeploy researchers to pandemic-related work even before government schemes were put in place.

Without QR funding we would not have had innovations and discoveries such as:

 - graphene
 - genomics
 - opto-electronics
 - cosmology research
 - new tests and treatments for everything from bowel disease to diabetes, dementia and cancer

As well as underpinning and leveraging other funding, including from industry and charities, QR supports  activities which keep UK universities at the forefront of global science, including:

 - Building interdisciplinary research capacity
 - Supporting cutting-edge, newly developing research areas
 - Attracting and retaining top researchers
 - Supporting staff development
 - Improving facilities and equipment
 - Training postgraduates and early career researchers (it has been estimated we will need 50% more researchers to help meet the Government’s target to boost R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027)

External funders can find blue skies research too early-stage or risky to support. This makes the role of the Government in supporting research vital. However, the value of QR funding has declined by 14% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2020/21.

Now is the time to shift towards long-term, low bureaucracy investments in people and ideas by introducing a significant uplift in quality-related funding for research, which will help the Government deliver breakthroughs in blue-skies research, boost the research talent pipeline and power future economic growth.

Download the full briefing below which also covers: 

 - How QR funding supports collaborations and partnerships
 - How universities can leverage other funds including from business and charities
 - How long term funding enables a sustainable pipeline of ideas underpinning innovation
 - How long term funding commitments help deliver long term strategies, infrastructure, training and skills
 - A series of case studies showing how Russell Group universities use QR funding to deliver projects which benefit the UK and help tackle global challenges.

Underpinning our world-class research base - the importance of QR (Feb 2021)

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