Research facilities given £675m towards upgrade

February 23, 2001

University research departments have been promised £675 million to upgrade facilities in the latest round of government funding this week .

The cash is part of the £1 billion Science Research Infrastructure Fund (Srif).

More than 100 English universities shared £600 million of the £675 million allocation. Allocations ranged from £100,000, to £46.4 million for University College London. Imperial College, London, and Oxford and Cambridge universities also received more than £40 million each. King's College, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds universities received between £20 million and £30 million each.

Old universities took about 93 per cent of the money, with an average allocation of about £10 million. New universities got less than 5 per cent, with an average allocation of £800,000. Greenwich University received the highest allocation for a new university, with £2.8 million.

The money will be distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Allocations were based on the university's total research income and its income from industry-related research.

A further £65.5 million, from £675 million total, will be shared between institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They should announce their allocations in the next few weeks. The remaining £9 million will be spent on a United Kingdom-wide communications network.

Srif differs from its predecessor, the £750 million Joint Infrastructure Fund, in that universities submit project proposals after they have been allocated funding. They must also provide a quarter of the project costs themselves.

The deadline for institutions' proposals is the end of May and allocations will be finalised in July. The money must be spent between April 2002 and March 2004.

A Hefce spokesman said it was unlikely that projects would be refused or allocations reduced after the proposals were received.

The £1 billion Srif is made up of £375 million from the Office of Science and Technology, £300 million from the Department for Education and Employment, £225 million from the Wellcome Trust, and £100 million from the Department of Trade and Industry to modernise the Research Council institutes and for larger projects.

The Wellcome Trust will announce the distribution of its £225 million next month.

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