Research success boosts funding for GuildHE institutions


Some of England’s newest universities along with many university colleges and specialist institutions have received “just reward” for major strides forward in their research performance.

English members of the representative body GuildHE are today celebrating an average 68 per cent increase in their funding for research, as well as a 7 per cent rise in their teaching grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

GuildHE institutions have received an average 5.1 per cent rise in their overall grant for 2009-10. This compares with an average 4.1 increase for all institutions across the country.

Big winners among GuildHE institutions include Harper Adams University College (with a 16.3 per cent increase in grant), Bishop Grosseteste University College (up 12.4 per cent), the University of Worcester (an 8.4 per cent rise), University College Plymouth St Mark and St John (up 7.6 per cent), and University College Falmouth (an increase of 7.4 per cent).

The news follows the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise which identified numerous pockets of research excellence within GuildHE institutions, some of which received no research funding last year.

Responding to today’s funding announcement from Hefce, Alice Hynes, chief executive of GuildHE, said:

“Last month GuildHE called for Hefce to “do its duty” and back its RAE judgements with its money. Hefce has delivered fairly what can be seen in this climate as generous Government support for teaching and research.

“The announcement today is a just reward for academic colleagues in institutions that do not claim to be research-led; many of whom had made significant strides forward in research excellence on the basis of very limited financial support. This does not change the overall mission of teaching focussed institutions in GuildHE, nor their long-term plans. But is does allow them to continue to make good judgements about where they will concentrate their research effort to best benefit. Places which secured RAE recognition such as the University of Winchester, Leeds Trinity and All Saints, St Mary’s University College, the University of Cumbria, and York St John University, rightly deserve the large percentage changes to their funding.

“The maintenance of the unit of funding teaching in these complex economic times is very welcome. It will be a strong boost to the regional and local economies everywhere that has higher education presence. It is critical that the Government continues to recognise the engine power of UK higher education both to deliver a skilled workforce and to drive its innovation strategies in a knowledge economy. The RAE results add to a wealth of evidence demonstrating that both the economy and society benefit from money spent on higher education.

“Our concern is that the constraint placed on funding more student places will mean GuildHE members are turning students away who will not only be a burden on the tax payer as unemployed, but having been encourage to improve their position will feel let down and badly discontented. This is hardly a recipe for social cohesion in difficult times.

“Higher education brings in billions of pounds to the UK economy, and continued public investment in the university and college sector is vital if we are to keep our place in an increasingly competitive world.”

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