Scots cash boost rivals top-ups fillip

March 23, 2007

Scotland's higher education institutions are holding their own financially despite the advent of top-ups in England, with a funding council deal of more than £1 billion, plus a further £75 million, to improve buildings.

The average increase across the 20 institutions is 4.7 per cent, from 2 per cent for Glasgow School of Art to 6.3 per cent for Edinburgh University.

There were fears that Scottish institutions could be at a competitive disadvantage in research compared to England.

But the Scottish Funding Council has increased its research grants by £15.4 million to almost £237 million, giving an average grant increase of 8.5 per cent across the 20 institutions.

But while Queen Margaret University will see a rise of 28.8 per cent, up from £881,000 to almost £1.14 million, the Open University in Scotland faces a 42.1 per cent cut. The OU's research grant comprises a knowledge transfer grant only and this drops from £38,000 to £22,000.

Ministers are relaxing the policy of penalising institutions that overshoot student number targets. There will be no limit in recruiting students in science, engineering, computing and maths for 2008, and institutions will be able to overshoot by 10 per cent in other areas, not the present 3 per cent.

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