Scots fume as English rivals win more cash

March 28, 2003

There are growing fears among Scottish universities that their UK research competitiveness will suffer without extra funding from the Scottish Executive.

Last week's funding allocation from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council was generally welcomed. The Association of University Teachers Scotland congratulated Shefc for "not following the divisive funding mechanisms used in England".

But there is disquiet over comparisons between English and Scottish research funding. Scotland's research universities all have increases of less than 5 per cent. Most English research universities have well over this level, with more than 14 per cent for Oxbridge, University College London and Imperial College London.

Edinburgh University, Scotland's top-ranking research university, says its 2.75 per cent real-terms increase is lower than that of any English Russell Group institution.

Sir Graeme Davies, principal of Glasgow University, said: "If the disparity of changes in funding were to go on for any period of time, then clearly our ability to contribute would be jeopardised."

David Caldwell, director of Universities Scotland, said that while the executive's review contained much that was "very positive", it was incomplete since it had not tackled funding issues.

"I believe the (next) phase, where we consider the resource issues and implications of the English white paper, is a vital stage," he said. "The big issue that remains unresolved is the underfunding of higher education in Scotland. UK ministers have publicly acknowledged the seriousness of underfunding, but Scottish ministers have not been quite so direct about it."

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