The success of Wales's universities in the research assessment exercise has been rewarded with a 28 per cent real-terms increase in research cash in the funding allocations for 2002-03.
This will ensure that 5*-rated departments are funded at least as well as those elsewhere in the United Kingdom; that funding for 4-rated departments will be maintained in real terms on average; and that those rated 3a and 3b will be funded according to a formula.
Steve Martin, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, said: "This is an excellent start to the Welsh Assembly's long-term strategy to enable higher education in Wales to play a central role in Wales's future success. " David Gant, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, which had an overall increase of nearly £10 million, said: " We are delighted that the assembly has been able to make funding available to support research work that is vital to the wealth and future prospects of the Welsh economy and society."
The grant for teaching is based on maintaining the unit of resource in real terms, allowing for a 1 per cent growth in student numbers and a 30 per increase in the premium for widening participation.
Total allocations for 2002-03 are £229.5 million for teaching, £65.3 million for research and £4.6 million for postgraduate training. A further £3.7 million will go towards widening access and supporting students with disabilities.
Some £3 million has been allowed for structural change and collaborations, to be added to £2 million that the HEFCW has already set aside. This will allow work to begin along the lines announced in the assembly's review of higher education.
Roger Williams, chair of the HEFCW, said: "The assembly has set us a challenging agenda for the next ten years. This settlement puts us in an excellent position to take it forward."