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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
University research 'underfunded'
Laboratory
Universities say they need another 600m for research
University research is starved of cash - and the shortage could jeopardise industrial innovation, say university chiefs.

The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals says that leading-edge scientific research in universities needs an extra 600m.

They say that in the past decade private industry investment in university research has declined and that government funding has been insufficient to allow the United Kingdom to keep up with its industrial competitors.

University representatives will be seeking to persuade Andrew Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, of the need for greater research funding when they meet him on Wednesday evening.

They will argue that investment in research contributes to national prosperity - with inventions and discoveries generating new businesses and research programmes producing the skilled staff needed by industry.

According to a survey for the CVCP, over half the universities in the UK are currently forced to use out of date equipment.

The CVCP says its survey of science and technology departments shows that:

  • two-thirds of departments lacked equipment for important experiments
  • 60% of existing equipment could not deliver leading-edge research
  • the joint infrastructure fund (the government's funding initiative) does not have enough money available

"The UK is in danger of squandering the research potential of our universities if further investment is not forthcoming in the next spending review," said the CVCP's chief executive, Baroness Warwick.

"These are important findings which emphasise the urgent need to address basic funding priorities for UK universities. We hope government and industry will take the issues raised seriously."

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See also:

21 Jun 99 | Education
Call to double UK science funding
15 Sep 99 | Education
Turning research into business
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