UK research income from abroad up 65 per cent in five years

UK Higher Education International Unit analysis highlights EU contribution on research

June 2, 2016
Funding pots growing money
Source: iStock

The amount of research funding that UK universities receive from abroad has increased by more than 65 per cent in the past five years.

Analysis of Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) data by the UK Higher Education International Unit revealed that the UK received £1.23 billion of research income from non-UK sources in 2014-15, compared with £0.74 billion in 2009-10. The largest proportion each year came from European Union bodies.

UK research income from international sources

Research income from international sources
UK Higher Education International Unit - data from HESA Finance Record (2009-10 to 2014-15)

The International Unit’s annual International Higher Education in Facts and Figures report also illustrates the significant rise in the number of new students coming from China to study in the UK since 2007-08, while the number of Indian students more than halved in the past four years.

International student enrolments in the UK 

International student enrolments in the UK
UK Higher Education International Unit - data from HESA Student Record (2007-08 to 2014-15)

The study shows that the UK’s academics are also becoming more global, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) of academic staff coming from outside the UK in 2014-15, according to Hesa data, compared with less than a fifth (19 per cent) 10 years earlier.

Analysis of World Economic Forum data also shows that UK “scientific research institutions” are now ranked second in the world for quality, up from seventh in 2008-09, behind only Switzerland. The ranking is based on the results of a survey that asked leading business executives in each country how they perceive their local institutions.

Quality of international ‘scientific research institutions’ over time

Quality of international scientific research institutions
UK Higher Education International Unit - data from World Economic Forum (2015)

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