MI research representatives discuss funding sustainability with UKRI

MI research representatives discuss funding sustainability with UKRI

With a national science superpower agenda and an ambition to increase research and development (R&D) investment in the UK to help the economy to grow and see productivity rise, the Government has set out its vision for UK research through the R&D Roadmap.

Much of the country’s research is undertaken by universities, but there is currently a funding gap between research income and what research costs to undertake. UK universities cross-subsidise research though income received from international students, but as costs rise, the gaps in research funding is widening.

A team at UKRI is building the evidence and understanding around the issues and factors affecting the financial sustainability of research and the resilience of the UK’s research and innovation system.

At the end of 2023, Midlands Innovation brought together research leaders from across its eight partner institutions to hear from the team leading UKRI’s Research Financial Sustainability programme.

Kate Turton of the UKRI Research Sustainability Team, said: “The UK has a world-leading research and innovation system, and we need to keep it world-leading in the future. A financially sustainable system is one that is not only able to meet present research and development needs but will enable us to meet the needs of the future.

“We recently published an issues paper and some of our key analysis outlining the financial position of the UK research sector following the Government publishing its response to the independent review of the UK’s research, development and innovation organisational landscape. The paper and key analysis outlines the financial trends and challenges the sector faces and the risks these could present to the UK’s R&D ambitions.

“The workshop with representatives from the Midlands Innovation partnership was a great opportunity to hear directly from representatives of eight different institutions as part of our ongoing dialogue with organisations involved in research in the UK to understand the levers and drivers of the issues they are experiencing.”

MI Deputy Director, Sue Clayton, said: “We are grateful to the UKRI Research Sustainability Team for coming to speak with our partners about their funding sustainability work. Our eight universities are a collaboration of the Midlands most research-intensive universities, but they are also very different institutions in terms of size and scope, so we value the opportunity for them to be able to hear more about UKRI’s work and share their individual experiences. The workshop was also an opportunity to provide the team with new insights on the challenges, as well as discussing opportunities and implications of changes to the system.”

Kate Turton, added: “We are encouraging those who work in the UK research ecosystem to look at our analysis and to provide feedback on their experiences and how they might suggest improvements could be made. The more feedback and intelligence that we receive the better picture we can build to create a systems approach which will support a thriving UK research ecosystem both now and in the future.”

Anyone wishing to read more on the UKRI Funding sustainability work and provide feedback can view a presentation on their analysis so far here, and read further information on their finance sustainability information here.

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