Concerns About Continuing Access to UK Research Council Grants for City's Universities


30 July 2012  

Laurie Bidwell


"The contribution of our two Universities in Dundee to the economic renaissance of the city is widely acknowledged.


“Underpinning the success of, for example, the University of Dundee's outstanding work in the bio-sciences is research grants.


“I believe that a significant proportion of the income of the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art comes from awards from UK wide Research Councils. 


“Each year the combined Research Councils UK invest in research throughout the UK.


“This research apparently covers the full spectrum of academic subjects from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences and the arts and humanities.


“In Scotland on Sunday (29/07/2012 ) Alan Trench, a senior research fellow at University College London, has warned that post independence, university level institutions in Scotland would no longer be able to access grants from the UK Research Councils from which they currently receive a disproportionate levels of funding.


“In 2010-11, Scottish institutions received £232 million from the councils, or 15 per cent of its overall £1.56 billion funding pot available for research grants to all UK universities whereas Scotland has only about 8.5 per cent of the UK’s population. 


“It was also reported, in the same article, that the Scottish Government has commissioned Professor Ian Diamond, principal of Aberdeen University and a former chair of Research Councils UK’s executive group, to look into this issue.


“I hope Ian Diamond's report will not be shrouded in secrecy when it is has been submitted to the Scottish Government.


“It is vitally important to have some straight answers to issues that potentially affect the future economic prosperity of the city.


“Bearing in mind that many of the larger research grants are for longer than one year, I think it is also important that Professor Diamond's report is not unduly delayed."




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