Universities: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reduction in research funding available to universities as a result of reduced charitable giving during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to increase funding to compensate for any such reduction.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The UK’s world-class universities will continue to play a critical role in delivering local and national economic prosperity, but of course they have been hard hit by COVID-19. That is why we have announced a range of measures to support universities at this difficult time.

From the autumn, the Government will provide a package consisting of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, supplemented by a small amount of government grants through the Sustaining University Research Expertise Fund (‘SURE’) to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from international students for the academic year 2020-21, up to the value of their non-publicly funded research activity.

The SURE fund aims to help sustain the research capacity of the university research base as a whole. Universities will be asked to demonstrate how they will use that funding to sustain research in areas typically funded by charities and business. Ultimately, we want critical university research capability, including charity-funded medical research, to be sustained and able to contribute to our future R&D ambitions.

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