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South-east enjoys big share of TSB’s R&D funding

The Technology Strategy Board has spent about 43 per cent of its £205 million collaborative research and development budget in south-east England and London in 2011-12.

The figures were revealed in a parliamentary statement by science and universities minister David Willetts last week.

They reveal a small decline in south-east concentration compared with 2010-11, when the TSB spent 46 per cent of its then £173m R&D budget in the region. However, it is a substantial increase since its 33 per cent share in 2009-10.

An article in Research Fortnight in May last year showed that between the years 2007 and 2011, the south-east won 37 per cent of the budget.

The new figures also show variation in funding for south-west England, which fell from about 16 per cent of the funding in 2009-10 to 8 per cent in 2010-11 and then rose again to 12 per cent in 2011-12. Funding for the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire has increased from 12 per cent to 15 per cent in the same period.

Scotland is up from just over 3 per cent in 2009-10 to about 5 per cent in 2010-11. Wales, however, has dropped from some 2 per cent to 1.6 per cent during the same time, while Northern Ireland has stayed at around 1 per cent.

Willetts was responding to a request made by Welsh Conservative MP Alun Cairns, who wanted to find out the total TSB spend in each of the regions in the last three years.

Willetts, however, said regional information is available only for the agency’s R&D spend and that “other areas could be provided only at disproportionate cost”.

In January, a similar written statement in parliament revealed that spending by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on research programmes in the south-east and London continued to grow at a faster rate than spending in the north-east over the last five years.