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2015 Budget – HE and science

Mark Leach takes a quick look at the measures relating to HE and science announced in the 2015 Budget announced by Chancellor George Osborne.
This article is more than 9 years old

Mark is founder and Editor in Chief of Wonkhe

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Today the Chancellor has announced the 2015 Budget, the last before the General Election in 50 days time.

For HE and postgraduates:

The government will introduce a package of measures to broaden and strengthen support for postgraduate researchers (including both masters and PhDs). This additional support will focus on seizing new opportunities in postgraduate research and build on partnerships with industry, charities, academies and individual members of society. It will include:

  • launching a review into how the government can strengthen its funding for postgraduate research. This review will examine the balance between number and level of research stipends to ensure that the UK’s offer remains internationally competitive
  • assessing, as part of this review, options to strengthen partnerships and cofunding between government, industry and charities. This will include increased support for crowd-funding for wider research to attract investment from individual members of society and business
  • introducing income-contingent loans of up to £25,000 to support PhDs and research-based masters degrees. These loans will be in addition to existing funding, and designed to minimise public subsidy. The government will work with research councils, universities and industry to examine how best to design them so that they complement existing funding streams and continue to support the most excellent research

For science and innovation:

Government will launch a UK-wide £400m competitive fund for new cutting edge science facilities, with funding available out to 2020-21. The competition will be based on scientific excellence, and seek to lever industrial and charitable funding to maximise the impact of scientific research. Government will work with HEFCE to build on the very successful RPIF model in order to administer this competition.

Government will also make a series of national investments in order to capitalise on the UK’s research strengths:

  • Up to £138m for a UK collaboration for Research in Infrastructure and Cities
  • £100m into an Intelligent Mobility R&D programme which will be match funded from industry
  • A £40m investment into large scale demonstrator programmes for the Internet of Things

Government is making a series of investments to support strengths in science and innovation across the UK:

  • Committing £20m to Health North, to enable better care for patients and to promote innovation
  • £14m in an Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre in Sheffield
  • £11m to support tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield
  • £60m in a proposal by six universities across the Midlands for a new Energy Research Accelerator; Budget also confirms that the location of the Energy Systems Catapult will be Birmingham
  • Government will reinvest up to £30m from the sale of MRC assets to support research at the Francis Crick Institute



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