It’s Universities Week this week, and we’re throwing our support behind Universities UK’s campaign. They’re running a series of events to raise awareness of how important universities really are to the UK.
Universities make a big impact on our economy, generating almost £59 billion every year. They are some of the largest employers in their regions, creating more than 600,000 jobs nationally either directly through higher education, or through its knock-on effects.
Much of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work couldn’t take place without the support our scientists get from their institutions. We spend £165 million every year on research in universities – about half our entire annual spend on research.
Almost all that cash goes towards the direct costs of research – salaries for students, research materials and equipment. The universities pick up many other costs associated with running a laboratory – like paying for the group leader’s salary, building maintenance and research infrastructure like computer systems and libraries.
The government supports universities through a system called quality-related research (or QR) funding. Government money is channelled into those universities who can show that their research is of the highest quality.
They also provides extra funding for those institutions taking on charity research. This charity element of QR funding, also known as the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF), is specifically intended to make sure that charities can continue to provide research grants for universities.
We’re hoping the new government will continue the CRSF, which is crucial if we are to continue investing in research at universities.