To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timetable is for the implementation of the recommendation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy to increase the funding of the Charity Research Support Fund.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the flat rate of funding for the Charity Research Support Fund remaining unchanged since 2010 on the UK's life sciences sector.
The Life Sciences Sector Deal demonstrates a joint strategic direction between government and the sector that reflects shared ambition to modernise the industry. The Deal built on the sector-led Life Sciences Industrial Strategy which made a series of recommendations to Government, which marked the start of negotiations for a Sector Deal.
The Government recognises the important contribution of charity funded research to the UK Life Sciences sector and the important public benefits arising from this. The charity support element of Quality Related research funding, which is currently provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), recognises this and that charities do not pay full economic costs. Decisions on how much to allocate to charity research support from within their overall research funding is a matter for HEFCE Board (and in future for Research England). HEFCE has maintained the charity research support element of Quality Related (QR) research funding at £198mpa, and as a proportion of total Quality Related (QR) research funding, since 2010-11.
The Government has made clear that allocation of the additional £4.7bn funding for R&D announced at Autumn Statement 2016 would reflect our commitment to the “balanced funding principle for dual support”. As part of the process of developing the Industrial Strategy, the CE Designate of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) provided advice to the Secretary of State on allocations across all the constituent Councils of UKRI. Detailed decisions on the allocation of “dual support” funding in England for different elements of Quality Related research and knowledge exchange will be determined by Research England, and will be announced in due course.
HEFCE has carefully monitored and assessed the implications of the level of funding allocated through charity research support element of QR, and Research England will continue to do so in future, working closely with the charity funders to demonstrate the value and contribution of this important funding stream.
The Government also supports charities through a wide range of other measures including the Gift Aid tax relief, which allows charities to reclaim the income tax paid on their donations and direct them towards their strategic priorities, including funding research.