12. Over many years there has been insufficient capital
spending on universities' research infrastructure. The 1997 Dearing
Report concluded that -
"The resources must be found to enable the UK
to maintain its place as one of the world's major research centres.
Without it, our universities will no longer be able to attract
funding from industry or international institutions on the scale
they have in the past".
Our predecessor Committee agreed, concluding that
"We are convinced that there is still
a real and urgent need for the Government to provide additional
resources to resolve the immediate crisis in research infrastructure
in the UK's universities".
In response to Dearing, in 1998 the Government launched
the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), a £750 million partnership
between the Wellcome Trust, the OST, and HEFCE. JIF was allocated
through a bidding process. The Government replaced JIF with the
Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) in 2001. £1 billion
has been made available (£225 million from the Wellcome Trust,
£300 million from HEFCE (England only) and £475 million
from OST) for 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Unlike JIF, SRIF money goes to all institutions that receive QR
funding. SRIF is awarded according to QR and total project funding
but institutions must provide details of how they will spend the
money. As with JIF, institutions must provide at least 25% of
the investment costs.
13. There is a third leg to research funding, running
alongside the dual support system, which provides support for
knowledge transfer. The HEROBC (Higher Education Reach-Out to
Business and the Community) fund was created by HEFCE in 1999
and provides £20 million a year until 2001-02.
This has now been incorporated into the Higher Education Innovation
Fund (HEIF), worth £140 million over three years, which is
provided by the OST and HEFCE.
1 The Biotechology and Biological Sciences Research
Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research
Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC),
the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Natural Environment Research
Council (NERC) and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research
Council (PPARC) Back
Science Budget: 2001-02 to 2003-04, DTI, November 2000. Back
See Minutes of Evidence of the Science and Technology Committee,
Wednesday 19 December 2001, HC 459-i, Session 2001-02, Q29 Back
HEFCE Report 01/12, Recurrent Grants for 2001-02, March 2001 Back
The assessment is undertaken by the Quality Assurance Agency.
It awards marks for curriculum design and organisation; teaching,
learning and assessment; student progression and achievement;
student support and guidance; learning resources; and quality
management and enhancement. Back
HEFCE, Report 02/11, Recurrent Grants for 2002-03, March 2002 Back
HEFCE, Review of CollR, available via www.hefce.ac.uk Back
Ev 48, para 4. Back
Ev 8, para 11 Back
Ev 9, para 11 Back
National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, 1997 Back
First Report of the Science and Technology Committee, Session
1997-98, The Implications of the Dearing Report for the Structure
and Funding of University Research, HC 303-I, paragraph 35 Back
The OST's money is available to Wales (£14 million), Scotland
(£44.6 million) and Northern Ireland (£7 million).
In addition, SHEFC has set up its own SRIF of £20 million
for the same two-year period and HEFCW has set up a £21 million
SRIF. See HEFCW Circular W01/18HE, 2001; SHEFC Circular HE/OS/2001 Back
HEFCE, Invitation 99/40, June 1999 Back