Scots get above-inflation rise

March 18, 2005

The UHI Millennium Institute, which hopes to become a university in 2007, has topped this year's Scottish funding allocations for higher education with a cash increase of 5 per cent.

This is the first time that UHI, a partnership of 14 colleges and research institutes in the Highlands and Islands, has come fully under the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council's funding formula.

It was put on transitional funding after being designated a higher education institution in 2001, pending an audit by the Quality Assurance Agency. UHI has done well because of its success in widening access, including attracting part-time students, and its increasing focus on research - in particular, work geared to the needs of the local community.

Overall, Scottish funding will rise substantially next year in the wake of Scotland's spending review.

There are no shocks in this funding round. Every institution wins a cash increase, and the average rise is an inflation-beating 3.4 per cent - marginally better than the 3.1 per cent rise in England. Student numbers in initial teacher education, the allied health professions and dentistry are to rise, but these will be funded by the Scottish Executive's education and health departments.

Shefc is keeping its own student numbers steady, raising the funding per student by 2.5 per cent to meet inflation. It has significantly expanded the budget for wider access and disabled students.

Shefc's main research grant has risen by 4.4 per cent to nearly £156 million. The bulk goes to 5 and 5* departments, but every institution has been given at least 2.5 per cent to cover inflation.

Ministers believe that all higher education institutions should do research, and Shefc has boosted other funding streams.

Its knowledge transfer grant rises by 32 per cent to £12.5 million.

It has earmarked £10 million for research that shores up national government strategies, and its fund supporting new and developing areas of research has risen by 2.5 per cent to £2.8 million.

This year's package also includes the first £25 million tranche of a three-year, £150 million capital fund for learning and teaching facilities.

Shefc believes that this, combined with £103 million for research facilities from the Science Research Investment Fund, will help ensure that Scottish institutions remain competitive nationally and internationally.

Roger McClure, Shefc's chief executive, welcomed the new capital funding.

He said: "Good fit-for-purpose facilities are simply essential to support students' learning and international research. They also encourage business to work with the sector to develop a buoyant, modern economy."

olga.wojtas@thes.co.uk

Link to the Statistics section: 
Scottish teaching and research grants 2005-06  

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