University funding reform ‘will cause brain drain’ to London

Liam Byrne said the funding proposal would lead to expertise accumulating
in the south east. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ministers have been warned of a potential “brain drain” of researchers away from smaller universities and a further concentration of talent in London and the south-east if they go ahead with a major funding reform.

Universities UK has been told that it will need to make a “robust case” in favour of the current system, which ensures that academic researchers working in unfashionable areas of study at less celebrated institutions are eligible for taxpayers’ money.

Under the “dual support” system, universities are given cash to spend as they wish, known as quality-related funding. At the same time the research councils fund major research projects undertaken according to national strategic goals.

The Observer has learned that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is looking at concentrating all funding in the hands of the research councils, in a move that would probably see an end to research funding in areas such as ancient Greek, according to one vice-chancellor.

- theguardian.com


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