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Avoid embedding new global fund in UKRI, say universities

The government’s proposed global research fund that could replace prestigious European Union research grants after Brexit should be independent from UK Research and Innovation, research-intensive universities have said.

According to the Russell Group of larger, research-intensive universities, the UK government’s proposed Discovery Fund should have a “high degree of independence from government so that it is not driven by political priorities”.

The Discovery Fund is one of the options being considered by Adrian Smith, the director of the Alan Turing Institute in London, as part of a government-commissioned review of the UK’s future international R&D collaborations. The government floated the idea of creating such a scheme as the UK stands to lose nearly all of the money allocated by the European Research Council, which funds mostly individual researchers, and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action mobility grants.

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