Who greases the wheels of research? Funding for UK higher education shifts up a gear

July 25, 2013

Funding for research undertaken in UK higher education has risen by 86 per cent in real terms since 1995, data from the National Audit Office show.

The contribution from overseas sources grew the most during this period, climbing from £293 million in 1995 to £923 million in 2011, with much of that expansion attributable to increases in funding from the European Commission. Research backing from UK businesses rose by just 17 per cent, from £242 million to £284 million.

According to NAO Memorandum: Research and Development Funding for Science and Technology, published on 10 July, between 1995 and 2011, the overall annual spending on R&D in the UK grew in real terms by 37 per cent to just under £ billion.

Over this period, the government progressively reduced the amount it spent on undertaking R&D itself through public research institutions (through bodies associated with government departments and the research councils) but at the same time increased R&D funding for UK businesses and universities.

Notes: Size of cogs is proportionate to funding. Overseas includes international business, private non-profit, international organisations and the European Commission. 1995 figures given in 2011 prices.

Source: NAO Memorandum: Research and Development Funding for Science and Technology, National Audit Office

elizabeth.gibney@tsleducation.com

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