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Vice-Chancellor of Oxford and Deputy President of Manchester universities to give evidence to Lords on science research funding


On Tuesday 21st May, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will hold its first evidence sessions for its new inquiry to assess the impact of potential changes in funding on the ability of UK universities to conduct high-quality scientific research. The Committee will question the Vice Chancellors from Oxford University and the University of Manchester, as well as representatives from Campaign for Science and Engineering and the Northern Health Science Alliance.

In the first session the Committee will ask the Vice-Chancellors how their institutions allocate resources to fund scientific research and whether potential changes to tuition fees will affect this resource allocation.

The evidence session will begin at 10:15am in Committee Room 4a of the House of Lords. The witnesses are:

  • Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford University; and
  • Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester.

Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • What is the current state of public funding for scientific research in universities?
  • Does the dual support system for funding research in universities work?
  • What, if any, proportion of tuition fee income at your institution is allocated towards research costs?
  • If, after leaving the EU, EU students are charged 'overseas' fees, and lose access to UK student loans, what will be the impact on universities' income and, as a result, research spending?

In the second session the Committee will ask for examples of the main challenges facing the ability of universities to conduct high quality research. The second session will begin at 11:15 and the witnesses are:

  • Dr Sarah Main, Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE); and
  • Dr Andrew Welchman, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Wellcome Trust

Other questions likely to be asked include:

  • How successful are universities at generating income from non-public sources?
  • The Government has committed to a target of 2.4% of GDP invested in R&D by 2027. How much of this research will be undertaken in universities?
  • What change in Government/UKRI policy would the groups you represent like to see in order for the scientific research base in universities to maintain or strengthen its position?
  • To what extent do institutions rely on EU funding for scientific research?

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