Russell Group Chair writes on the future of R&D under a new Government

09 July 2024

Professor Chris Day, Chair of the Russell Group and Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, has reflected on early positive signs from the new Labour Government on support for the R&D sector.

Writing for Research Professional News on Sunday 7 July, Professor Day highlighted the positive rhetoric already seen from Labour about the role universities play in driving growth for the UK, and the party's revival of a proper industrial strategy as a welcome signal and an area where research-intensive universities can act as a partner.

However, he also underlined the need for these signals to be backed up by a renewed commitment to robust block grant funding, in order to support the research and innovation capabilities of our sector. Many of the success stories that the Government is keen to celebrate, where universities have contributed to key areas such as healthcare, Net Zero and manufacturing, are only possible due to funding streams like QR and HEIF to support staff, facilities and industry collaborations:

"This funding is an essential part of the R&D funding landscape that gives universities the flexibility to both plan for the long term and remain responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges. It is one of the reasons we can remain so internationally competitive when it comes to trailblazing research. A creative and ambitious approach to R&D and innovation will be welcomed by the sector, but not if it comes at the cost of squeezing this long-term funding pipeline that supports so much vital activity".

The piece also reiterates the opportunities for partnerships between Government and universities, to make the most of what our sector has to offer in helping to deliver a bright future for the UK.

Read the full article on Research Professional News and visit our Briefing Hub for the latest Russell Group briefings on the work our universities are doing across education, research, innovation and global partnerships.

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