Thousands of highly skilled researchers, scientists and technicians working at UK universities will receive greater job protection thanks to two significant support packages announced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma today.
From this autumn, research-active universities across the UK that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access long term, low-interest loans, supplemented by a small amount of government grants, covering up to 80% of their income losses caused by any actual decline in international students.
This funding will be available to bolster those universities who are taking their own steps to make efficiencies, in line with the rest of the economy, to protect their research bases. In addition, some universities may also be losing funding from charities and businesses, which goes towards vital medical research. The package will be made available to fund research and high priority projects, such as medical research, in order to support universities to continue to be at the cutting edge of innovation.
Around £200m in new government investment will be made immediately available to support researchers’ salaries and other costs such as laboratory equipment and fieldwork. This will allow universities to retain research talent and protect innovative, ground-breaking projects across the country. UK Research & Innovation will also redistribute up to a further £80m of existing funding to support research and development (R&D) in our universities.
The two support schemes will ensure universities facing difficult financial decisions, in line with the rest of the economy, can offer job security to up-and-coming researchers and are able to progress their cutting-edge work, such as research into the effects of coronavirus on our wider society, antibiotics resistance, and new tech solutions to tackle plastic waste and climate change.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The brilliance of our talented researchers and scientists has been absolutely critical not only to our medical response to coronavirus but also as we begin to emerge from this pandemic and support the UK’s economic recovery. The support we are putting in place will give our world-leading universities a lifeline by protecting jobs to ensure our best minds can continue discovering new innovations that will benefit us all for generations to come.”