£2.5 billion investment to support government’s R&D ambitions

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Research England has published overall recurrent budgets for the higher education sector for research and knowledge exchange funding for the 2021-22 academic year.

This allocation:

  • sees an increase in funding to English universities’ research and knowledge exchange activity of 3.5% for 2021-22
  • ensures the balance of the dual support system is set to around 64p in the pound.

This investment demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to universities’ role in making the UK a science superpower.

Healthy and dynamic research system

Upholding stable levels of performance-based university focused funding will ensure that we sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in English universities. It is a system that proved critical in the national response to the pandemic and will continue to contribute significantly to building back better.

Of the budgets confirmed today:

  • recurrent budgets into 2021-22 are maintained providing stability for the sector
    • quality-related research (QR) funding remains at £1.75 billion
    • Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) remains at £250 million
  • £132 million in single year grants made available to strengthen university capacity and partnership working capabilities to build back better post-pandemic
  • an additional £32 million is being allocated for 2021-22 through the established mechanisms of the HEIF to build on HEIF’s successes in strengthening university knowledge exchange capabilities, tackling COVID-19 challenges and helping recovery
  • £30 million into RDP through to provide additional support to their postgraduate research students (PGR) students to respond to and recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • a one-off pulse of £10 million in additional Business QR to support universities undertaking research with business, recognising the vital role of business and industry in building back better post pandemic.

Research England will communicate institutional allocations in due course.

Providing stability

David Sweeney, Executive Chair at Research England, said:

Universities have played an enormous role in the response to, and recovery from COVID-19, and this funding allocation will further support the sector as it moves beyond addressing immediate pressures.

However, no one university can address these challenges alone. As the sector has demonstrated, when we work collaboratively with industry, the public sector, and with one another, we can deliver wider societal and economic benefit for our communities and the country.

This funding allocation will provide stability in a volatile funding landscape and will ensure our world-class higher education research base has the capacity to continue to partner with civic leaders, business, and public services across challenges and opportunities as we build back better.

Further information

Further details of the allocation are published in the circular letter. Please note that recurrent funding is distributed by academic year and capital funding by financial year.

Read the guidance from BEIS for Research England in financial year 2021-22.

Read further details on how we fund universities.

For a more detailed explanation of recurrent and capital funding, what it supports and how it is allocated, see the Research England website.

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