03 Oct 2021
In a policy briefing published today (4 October) MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, calls for the pledged increase of the research and development budget to £22bn to be shared more equitably around the country if the government’s goals to level up are to be met.
Levelling up to £22bn: research, innovation & local business support emphasises the importance of re-balancing the way research in the UK is funded so that modern universities, many of which sit in marginalised areas of the country, and those hit hardest by the pandemic, can do even more to support a world-class system of research and innovation, for the benefit of their regions and the country.
Levelling up to £22bn recommends the government should:
A second publication, Innovate and generate: modern universities supporting local businesses, highlights the vital partnerships that modern universities, with their deep local roots and industry-facing outlook, have with businesses in their regions and emphasises the need for government to heed our calls for prioritising specific R&D funding streams dedicated to facilitate these relationships and the positive impact they can have in levelling up the UK.
Rachel Hewitt, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:
“Modern universities are vital anchor institutions within their local communities and their sense of place is central to their core mission. As such they are well placed to make an enormous contribution to the government’s levelling up agenda and in the recovery from Covid-19.
“With this pair of publications we focus on just two of the ways this contribution could be made: world-class research and innovation and close ties with local business.
“In 2019-20 modern universities provided services to more than 21,000 small and medium-sized business. They are hubs of support, infrastructure and translational research. As we emerge from the pandemic, these institutions should be recognised as a key asset to boost innovation and economic growth in the very places that need it most.
“The government should take this opportunity to re-balance the way research and development is funded and ensure that investment is spread across the country to support effective recovery and help reduce inequalities between and within regions. This, surely, is the very definition of ‘levelling up’.”
Notes to editors