The HEFCE grant letter (sent from BIS to HEFCE) for funding in 2016-17 was published on 4th March and contains some information on RKE funding that you may find of interest.
- HEFCE is asked to take account of the Stern Review outcomes in developing proposals for the next REF, which should be completed by the end of 2021. This suggests submission will be in autumn 2020.
- Open access and open data continue to be priorities.
- The letter reaffirms the Government’s commitment to the dual support system.
- It confirms that the science and research budget will be ring-fenced.
- Mainstream QR will continue to be allocated based on selective funding of world-leading and internationally excellent research with impact wherever it is found.
- Funding will continue to be available for PGRs and leverging external funding from the charitable and business sectors (current RDP Supervision, QR Charity Support Element, and QR Business Support Element funding).
- An additional £400m will be allocated via the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund through to 2021.
- The letter states the Government is taking forward the recommendation from the Nurse Review that the seven councils are brought together under Research UK.
- The Government recognises the important role of HEIF and expects HEFCE to introduce a long-term methodology for allocating HEIF funding in future.
- In the meantime, HEFCE will maintain HEIF allocations at current levels with a continued focus on outcomes-based funding approaches.
You can access the full letter here: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2016/Name,107598,en.html
Research Councils UK (RCUK) has published a full response to the Higher Education Green Paper and the Nurse Review, which sets out key principles that the Research Councils collectively consider should be the basis on which reform of the research funding landscape should take place.
The response relates to Part D of the Green Paper relating to the research landscape and to the broad direction of travel recommended by Sir Paul Nurse. It does not address individual questions specifically. Their overriding priority is to ensure that the UK’s world-class research is supported through the most effective and efficient means possible.
On Wednesday the government outlined their plans for spending over the next five years in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and Autumn Statement. The main points in relation to research and KE are:
- The Nurse Review recommendations will be implemented (see an overview of the recommendations here).
- Subject to legislation, the government will introduce a new body – Research UK – which will work across the seven Research Councils.
- Innovate UK with remain and will be integrated into Research UK.
- The BIS budget will be cut by 17% (£2.2bn).
- The science budget will be protected in real terms.
- This includes a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges fund to ensure UK science takes the lead in addressing the problems faced by developing countries whilst developing our ability to deliver cutting-edge research
Research Excellence Framework:
- The government will take forward a review of the Research Excellence Framework in order to examine how to simplify and strengthen funding on the basis of excellence, and will set out further details shortly.
Funding, priorities and investments:
Health and social care:
- £5bn more to be invested in Health Research, key priorities being the genomes project, anti-microbial resistance and tackling malaria.
- £600m additional funding will be available for mental health.
- £150m will be invested in launching a competition for a Dementia Institute with the remit of tackling the progression of the disease.
- Women’s Health charities/sector will be invested in, as will military charities.
Science and technology:
- £1bn will be invested in energy research, with a key priority being the reduction in costs of low carbon energy.
- Defence budget will be increased from £34bn to £40bn – emphasis will be on new equipment, capabilities and fighting cybercrime.
- Investment in a new Cyber Innovation Centre in Cheltenham to supporting cyber excellence across south west.
Arts, sports and culture:
- Arts and culture budget will be protected and £1bn will be invested.
- The Arts Council will be invested in.
- Funding in UK Sport will be increased in run up to the Olympic Games in Rio.
Knowledge exchange / enterprise:
- £12bn invested in local growth fund.
- 26 Enterprise Zones to be created including 15 in towns and rural areas. Two new zones are planned for the south west region.
- Innovate UK will remain but based on a grant system with £165m in loans will be on offer. It will be integrated into Research UK (overarching body of the Research Councils).
- Funding to Catapult Centres will increase.
Following on from Julie Northam’s synopsis of the Nurse Review of the Research Councils posted last week, you may be interested to see the responses from the many interested parties, such as science lobby groups and learned societies.
Research Professional have provided an analysis of the responses that can be read here. The individual statements are shown below:
Sir Paul Nurse published his review of the UK research councils on 19 November. The full report is available here: Ensuring a Successful Research Endeavour: Review of the UK Research Councils by Paul Nurse. This follows close on the heels of the HE Green Paper (see this blog post for an overview), which stated that it would take the finding of the Nurse review into account alongside feedback received to the consultation.
The key messages of the Nurse review are:
Nurse strongly argues against the merger of the seven research councils.
Instead he recommends the establishment of a new body to oversee research – Research UK, “evolving out of” RCUK. Governance should include representation from government, HEFCE, Innovate UK as well as the research councils.
It’s functions world include:
- – engaging with government on behalf of the research councils
- – formulation of the overall research strategy for the UK
- – cross-council strategy, including best practice in research funding
- – managing cross-cutting funds for multi- and inter-disciplinary research
- – development and maintenance of research data management systems
- – taking on some shared admin / business support on behalf of the councils
The individual research councils should concentrate on providing “high quality strategic leadership to their research communities” in the shape of international quality peer review; speeding up grant assessments; improving reporting systems; ensuring diversity and strengthening links with their research communities.
The dual support system of research funding should be maintained and government should set up a ministerial committee to coordinate strategic research priorities across government.
He argues strongly for the retention of ring fencing for the science budget.
The Nurse Review of Research Councils has been published today. Follow the link to read the full report. An analysis of what this means will follow in due course.
BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) have launched a formal consultation on reviewing the research councils. The deadline for responses to BIS is 17th April 2015 and BU will be submitting an institutional response that reflects the views of the majority of staff.
To facilitate the production of the institutional response the Deans of Faculty have been invited to each submit a Faculty-based response taking into account the views of academic colleagues. It is of paramount importance that academic and research staff engage with this consultation for two reasons:
- Evidence is required on the balance of the funding portfolio and so potentially affects disciplines differently.
- Evidence is required on integrating with agencies and organisations and so would affect Faculties differently.
The call for evidence focusses on four areas: strategic decision-making, collaborations and partnerships, balance of the funding portfolio, and effective ways of working.
The full consultation document can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/nurse-review-of-research-councils-call-for-evidence
The consultation refers to the triennial review of the research councils which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-review-of-the-research-councils
How to contribute
To contribute to the consultation please send your comments using this form (Faculty response-Nurse-review-of-research-councils-call-for-evidence-form) to your Faculty contact by 27th March as follows:
HSS – Prof Gail Thomas
Management – Prof Keith Wilkes
Media – Stephen Jukes
SciTech – Prof Richard Stillman
19th March Launch consultation internally
27th March All individual feedback to be sent to the Deans
1st April Each Dean to send a Faculty response to Jo Garrad
9th April Jo Garrad to send a draft institutional response to John Fletcher
14th April All final feedback to be sent to Jo Garrad
16th April Deadline for submitting final institutional response to BIS