The Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy sets out the Government’s long-term vision for research and innovation in the UK, reflecting its ambition for the UK to be the best place in the world to undertake research and the most attractive place to start, finance and grow an innovative business [Note 1]. We welcome the strategy’s recognition of the central role that universities play in this success story through their broad range of research and innovation activities and partnerships.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, said:
‘We welcome the strategy’s long-term commitment to investing in research infrastructure and facilities to support excellent research, as set out in the capital roadmap [Note 2]. Signalling this commitment now will give universities and colleges the vital stability they need to support research priorities into the longer term. As the Government works through the detail of how capital funding for universities will be allocated, it will be important to recognise the clear wish expressed by the sector that funding for university core infrastructure is maintained or increased.’
The strategy also notes the importance of long-term HEFCE funding for knowledge exchange through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The Government has committed £113 million for HEIF in 2015-16 from the Science Budget (set out in the HEFCE Grant Letter for 2014-15 [Note 3]). HEFCE will make decisions on the total available for knowledge exchange funding, taking account of the 2015-16 Grant Letter, in spring 2015. Decisions on knowledge exchange formula allocations for 2016-17 and beyond will need to take account of the priorities of the next Government and the outcomes of the next Spending Review.
The Science and Innovation Strategy also asks HEFCE to develop a framework to demonstrate good performance and practice in knowledge exchange activities, and HEFCE looks forward to taking this forward.