Swansea income increased in Welsh QR funding settlement

Announcement from Hefcw also shows hit to overall sector support for part-time and postgraduate teaching

May 22, 2015

Swansea University has been handed additional funding at the expense of other Welsh institutions in the first research funding round since the publication of the research excellence framework.

Meanwhile, support for part-time and postgraduate study is also taking a hit in an overall settlement for the devolved nation’s universities that is down on this year.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales’ funding announcement for 2015-16, published on 22 May, leaves the amount of quality-related money available unchanged from this year, at £71.1 million.

Following a strong performance in the REF, Swansea’s QR funding will be increased by 19.6 per cent, from £11.5 million to £13.7 million.

Bangor University receives a 5.5 per cent increase, from £6.8 million to £7.2 million, while Glyndwr University receives a small amount of QR funding for the first time.

These changes mean that all other Welsh universities will see a reduction in their QR funding.

The biggest loser in cash terms is the University of South Wales, which sees its grant reduced by 45.6 per cent, from £2.8 million to £1.5 million. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David faces a 62.3 per cent cut, from £792,851 to £298,936.

Cardiff University’s QR funding is being cut by £555,478, even though it rose 16 places to sixth in the Times Higher Education UK-wide REF league table, based on grade point average. With total QR funding of £39.8 million, Cardiff still takes 56 per cent of the total pot.

Richard Davies, Swansea’s vice-chancellor, said the Hefcw allocation recognised his university as “an excellent environment for learning, teaching and research”.

“It will assist us to continue with our mission to be a research-led Welsh university of international quality providing career enhancing opportunities for our students and using our research to help support the economy, health and civic society in the region and beyond,” Professor Davies said.

John Hughes, Bangor’s vice-chancellor, said the performance of his institution reflected “huge improvements” in departmental performance in the REF.

The overall amount of funding distributed by Hefcw to Welsh higher education institutions is being reduced compared with 2014-15 by £8.5 million, or 5.2 per cent, to £154.2 million.

Hefcw said that this reflects the transition from public funding to a mix of public funding, tuition fees and – in the case of Welsh-domiciled students – Welsh government fee grants. Higher education providers should see an increase of up to 3 per cent in their combined public and fee income, Hefcw said.

However, protecting the research budget means that funding to support part-time undergraduate teaching is being reduced by £3.8 million, or 12.5 per cent. Teaching funds for postgraduate taught courses are being reduced by £786,004, or 11.2 per cent.

Graham Upton, the vice-chancellor of Glyndwr, said he was “disappointed” to see a reduction in funding for part-time provision, but he “welcomed” the additional QR funding.

Colin Riordan, Cardiff’s vice-chancellor and the chair of Universities Wales, said he was “pleased that in a difficult funding environment Hefcw has been able to protect QR and that broadly the allocations will give Welsh institutions some resilience for the next year at least”. The allocation for Cardiff would “enable us to build on the success we’ve had”, Professor Riordan added.

A spokesman for the University of South Wales said that, in a time of “significant pressure” on public funding for higher education, its allocation was “not entirely unexpected”.

“We are now analysing the detail of the allocation and finalising the steps we will be taking to deal with it in a measured and reasonable way,” the spokesman added.


Higher Education Funding Council for Wales allocations, 2014-15 and 2015-16

Institution2014-15 (£)2015-16 (£)Change 2014-15 to 2015-16 (£)
Totalof which QRTotalof which QR 
Aberystwyth University8,737,1587,270,5808,371,8917,010,422-365,266
Bangor University8,581,6566,839,8948,761,6917,218,736180,034
Cardiff University56,773,60340,352,47456,624,15539,796,996-149,448
Cardiff Metropolitan University26415311,109,4612,421,6731,065,119-219,859
Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies398,770398,770192,904192,904-205,867
Glyndwr University4,460,81803,944,594214,955-516,223
Open University in Wales10,157,11709,917,1870-239,930
University of South Wales15,884,3812,813,90113,501,7231,530,192-2,382,657
Swansea University16,850,97111,499,41318,822,56413,749,0831,971,593
University of Wales Trinity Saint David5,273,150792,8514,482,177298,936-790,972

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