Professor David Price comments on government research strategy
8 December 2011
Following the publication of the Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth, Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) at UCL, said: "The government is to be commended in these unstable times for the stability of its commitment to the research base and to curiosity-driven research, and supporting the full research and innovation ecosystem in a sustainable way through the ring-fenced funding of research and additional capital investment.
"I welcome the development of a framework for multi-institutional collaborations in research bids, since, as UCL has been advocating for some time, greater partnership between institutions is hugely desirable and insufficiently supported within the current system.
"However, it remains our opinion that there are several UK universities, such as UCL, whose broad spectrum of excellence means that many research challenges can be addressed within them in a more effective way than across a consortium. We would have welcomed a reinforced commitment to the value of such comprehensive institutions as well as more fragmented consortia. It will also be important that universities remain the core partners in any such collaborative bids under the RCUK framework.
In an era of constrained funding and difficult decisions, small amendments in immigration regulations may be the most cost-effective route to maintaining our global research profile
Professor David Price
"The commitment to increasing access to data from publicly-funded research and the development of a 'gateway to UK research' is a step in the right direction. However, this will require sustained funding on a large scale, which may go beyond the initial £2 million announced in the strategy. I would like to see the Government continuing to move towards a national open access agreement on journal licenses for UK research outputs.
"It is a pity that the fine words on the importance of mobile highly-skilled people have not been translated into commitments to address the well documented concerns of the research community concerning visa regulations. There are still considerable issues with respect to the length of time talented researchers are able to remain in the UK or to take up employment, which I would urge the Government to address as a matter of urgency. Leading research talent is one of the scarcest global resources. In an era of constrained funding and difficult decisions, small amendments in immigration regulations may be the most cost-effective route to maintaining our global research profile."