08 Sep 2016
Political parties throughout the UK have long agreed that research and innovation are key drivers of economic growth and smart innovation. Universities are at the heart of delivering this agenda, showing particular strength in the quality and impact of their research.
However there has been a surprising lack of new thinking about the way in which taxpayer investment in research is allocated to universities. By and large historic reputation has been taken as an indicator of future success and a protection of the status quo has reigned supreme. As a result public resources for research have been heavily focused on and concentrated into a small number of universities. This has worked to the detriment of the staff in the majority of universities and the talents and potential of both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
As the new analysis in this briefing illustrates, concentration of research funding in a small number of universities in England is an issue not just nationally but also regionally. Across the country, three institutions receive 25% of the funding, and in most regions in England the modern universities that make up around 50% of the sector receive less than 10% of the quality-related research funding for that region.