A good budget for UK research, says UCL President & Provost
19 March 2015
Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, has broadly welcomed the measures contained in the Budget to provide extra support for postgraduate research students and for science and innovation, stating that these will strengthen the UK's position as a world leader in research excellence.
The Budget included a package of measures to support PGR students, including income-contingent loans of up to £25,000 to support PhDs and research-based masters degrees (additional to existing funding), as well as a review into how government can best ensure the UK remains internationally competitive in postgraduate research.
It also included a £400 million competitive fund for new science facilities based on scientific excellence, as well as details of a number of national investments designed to capitalise on the UK's existing strengths. This included a UCL-led project - the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) - secured £138 million of funding subject to a satisfactory business case and the provision of substantial co-funding. The UKCRIC will apply research to ensure that the UK's infrastructure is resilient and responsive to environmental and economic impacts, and will establish hubs to achieve this in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton.
I welcome the strong signal this Budget has sent out about the vital role of research in helping to deliver prosperity for the UK.
Professor Michael Arthur
Professor Arthur said: "I welcome the strong signal this Budget has sent out about the vital role of research in helping to deliver prosperity for the UK. Much of the political debate inevitably focuses on undergraduate funding, but today's announcement is a clear expression of support for postgraduate research students, a group for whom competition between institutions and nations is no less intense. We will await further details - notably on timescale and how the loan system will work - but in principle this is a positive step in the right direction.
"The government's support for science and innovation is equally welcome. With some caveats, both this government and their predecessors in office have understood the central role science and innovation play in our country's success and backed it accordingly, even during some tough funding years. As we move towards a general election, all indications are that there is a political consensus around maintaining recent levels of support for our sector, which is good news for universities and the UK."
- Professor Michael Arthur
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 3843
Email: d.fourniol [at] ucl.ac.uk