Scientific research to receive additional funding

The Government has announced an increase in funding to help ensure that the UK's scientific research is put on a "secure and sustainable footing".

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury announced that the UK Research Councils will pay a higher proportion of the full economic costs (FEC) of university research grants applied for from September 2005.

An extra £120 million per year, to support the move towards FEC, will be distributed to the Research Councils from July 2005, rising to £200 million per year from 2007-08.

The Research Councils will pay 80% of the FEC of suitable projects - more than the 60% to 70% previously estimated. The Government's aim is that this will reach 100% by the start of the next decade in line with the proposals contained in the 'Science and Innovation Investment Framework: 2004-2014'.

Lord Sainsbury also announced that Research Councils would pay 100% of the costs of any equipment over £50,000 per grant, with Higher Education Institutions contributing 20% of the costs of the first £50,000.

Lord Sainsbury said: "The Government is committed to improving and maintaining research excellence in UK universities.

"The move towards Research Councils paying the full economic costs of projects is a huge step forward in the drive towards proper and sustained funding of the UK research base, and comes coupled with an increase in the block grant from Funding Councils. This represents a major boost for university research."

Higher Education Minister Kim Howells said: "This increase in the level of contribution from the Research Councils is another major step to ensure that our universities have a secure base from which to plan and develop high quality research in a sustainable way".

Mr Howells said that the Government remained fully committed to the dual support system: "The movement towards Research Councils paying Full Economic Costs is an integral element of this, which will allow institutions greater flexibility in the use of their Quality Related funding to address the needs of their research strategies properly."

The heads of universities and researchers have warmly welcomed todays announcement.


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