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Ignoble Britain

Cuts to aid-funded research programmes are a disgrace

“A national scandal,” a move that “could stall future scientific breakthroughs”, and one that will “constrain the UK’s role in combating the world’s most pressing challenges”. The news that government cuts to the overseas aid budget have left UK Research and Innovation no choice but to cut back or cancel grants for aid-funded projects has provoked outrage and disbelief from across the research community. 

As Research Professional News revealed last week, UKRI has been left £120 million shy of what is needed to cover its commitments for 2021-22. The scale of the shortfall has shocked even those who were expecting pressure on the Official Development Assistance-funded Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund. The turmoil hasn’t been helped by foreign secretary Dominic Raab saying in January that aid funding for R&D and climate change had been ringfenced, or by the government’s frequently stated aim to create a ‘Global Britain’.

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