Scottish Funding Council’s extra £24m for universities

University of Glasgow

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) announced the injection of an additional £24.6 million of funding to Scotland’s universities “to protect the nation’s research base and to provide stability ahead of a final decision on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation.”

This announcement comes in the wake of a UK package of support announced by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) last month.

“Scotland has an outstanding reputation for world-leading research as confirmed by the recent UK-wide assessment of university research, with almost 90% of Scottish university research being judged to have outstanding or very considerable impact,” said the SFC.

“This global reputation is enhanced by the collaborative nature of Scotland’s research base, with Scotland’s share of the total funding awarded to UK organisations from Horizon Europe’s predecessor programme, Horizon 2020, reaching 11.3%.”

Included within this additional funding is £5.2 million to support capital investment in the physical infrastructure for research, enabling universities to invest in essential research equipment and sustain their excellent research base.

Helen Cross, SFC Director of Research and Innovation, said: “While association to Horizon Europe remains the sector’s ambition, we welcome this much-needed investment in Scotland’s research base which will help our universities sustain their outstanding reputation for world-leading research and their strong track record of working in collaboration with European partners.”

Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “This allocation reflects Scotland’s previous track record of success and influential position in the prestigious and highly competitive Horizon research programme.

“The package of support being provided is much needed but focus must not be lost on achieving a long-term solution. Maximising participation in Horizon Europe is the best outcome for Scotland. Full association with Horizon is the best option to achieve this.

“We continue to urge the UK Government to work together with the European Commission to limit the damage caused by Brexit. Finding a mutually beneficial solution for our research and innovation communities remains of pressing importance.”

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal of University of St Andrews and Convener of Universities Scotland: “On behalf of universities in Scotland, I welcome this vital injection of additional funds to support research excellence across the nation. We are hopeful that agreement can be found to ensure our universities can continue to be a part of Horizon.”