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Oxbridge comes out top in annual research allocations

Imperial, York, Cranfield, Surrey and others face cuts

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are to see their research funding from HEFCE rise in 2013-14, at the same time institutions including Imperial College London, the University of York and Cranfield University will see their income drop, according to provisional funding allocations.

The allocations, announced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on 21 March, reveal how £1.56 billion in research funding will be distributed across institutions.

Oxford can expect an increase of 1.8 per cent on last year’s allocation while Cambridge should see a rise of 1.6 per cent. Both institutions are around £2 million better off as a result.

Similarly, University College London will see its budget expand by around £900,000 to nearly £116m, and Queen Mary, University of London, will get around £700,000 in extra research funding, a 2.2 per cent increase. The University of East Anglia will get a boost of just less than £500,000, a 3.3 per cent increase.

However, Imperial—one of last year’s big research winners—will see its income drop by £1m, a loss of 1.1 per cent compared with 2012-13.

Many other universities are also set to lose research funding. The University of York will see its income drop by nearly £900,000 compared with 2012-13, or 3.4 per cent. The University of East London will suffer one of the biggest cuts in percentage terms, losing 6.3 per cent, leaving it with a total allocation for research of £1.94m. The universities of Cranfield, Surrey, and Plymouth will have to deal with reductions of 5.5 per cent, 3.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively. Many of these universities also suffered decreases in last year’s allocations.

Mainstream quality-related allocations are based on the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. In the calculations for mainstream QR funding for 2013-14, HEFCE has used the same allocation formula as it did for 2012-13 and it has maintained the amount of funding in cash terms. This means that in 2013-14 the funding for any institution will be broadly similar to 2012-13’s allocation.

Any differences in individual institutions’ research income—which also includes support to cover overheads for charity and business research and supervision of postgraduate research students—are therefore most likely to result from some institutions being better at attracting external funding or experiencing changes to postgraduate student numbers.

While the recurrent research grant has remained at £1.56 billion since last year, HEFCE’s recurrent teaching grant has dropped from £3.2bn to £2.3bn as the new fees system gets underway.

HEFCE has also announced that, from 2013-14, universities will be allowed to recruit unlimited numbers of students with ABB grades at A-level.

In addition to teaching and research, HEFCE also announced that it will spend £280m in capital grants and that its Higher Education Innovation Fund of £150m will be boosted by an extra £10m to be allocated later this year.