UNIVERSITIES face a Pounds 520-million cash shortfall for buildings and equipment for research, according to the Committee for Vice Chancellors and Principals.
Michael Powell, CVCP policy adviser, said: "The dual support system isn't working. There was supposed to be an understanding about how much money comes from the research councils and a separate system of money from the funding councils to provide infrastructure for research. But funding councils' money isn't enough."
He said the funding councils' contribution was vital because it allowed universities to initiate their own research. The CVCP will be presenting its calculations, based on returns for 1994/95, to the Dearing inquiry.
In a separate letter, vice chancellors from leading research universities have written to Sir Ron Dearing opposing any move to transfer more research funds from the funding councils to the research councils. They argue that this would damage research infrastructure further. The Russell group of universities warn that transferring research funds to the research councils would be "extremely damaging" to Britain's research effort.
It is said that among those pushing for the transfer are the director general of the research council, Sir John Cadogan and some research council chief executives. None were prepared to comment.