Last week the UKRI published its corporate plan. This is big news for the sector and provides a fair indicator of the shape of things to come for one of the most important funding streams for R&I funding. The University has won funding of around £30M from UKRI since 2018 alone so it’s pretty big news for us too.
In the plan UKRI outlines how it will spend its annual £7.9 billion budget over the next three years, including a £2bn talent programme to support people and careers, the funder said it planned to “transform the way we invest in talent, creating a £2bn pooled talent budget”.
Other highlights include:
- increased investment in technologies of the future, including building on investments in artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and engineering biology
- an extra £185 million across UKRI to target global and national challenges, including the move to net zero through a new ‘Building a Green Future’ programme
- supercharging innovation, including through Innovate UK with a budget increase to more than £1 billion by 2024 to 2025.
It looks like UKRI are looking in the mirror too. They’ve been warned of high staffing levels and inefficiency in a recent independent review, and are looking to cut their operating expenditure by around one quarter by 2024/25. This could make it simpler to engage with the funding body, or it might mean more administrative tasks and accountability being pushed down the supply chain to Universities. Or both.
We will be poring over the text and tracking commentaries in the sector in the coming weeks, however, it’s clear from the headlines that there are going to be some significant changes and opportunities in the coming years.
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