Last week it was announced that teaching would bear the brunt of the major cutbacks to the 2010-11 higher education budget. HEFCE stated that research funding will be increased by £32 million in the year ahead to just over £1.6 billion, a 2% increase on last year - i.e. a flat settlement in real terms. This compares well with the teaching budget, which was cut by 1.6%.
Elsewhere, Research Fortnight report that HEFCE unveiled the formula by which it will distribute quality research funding in the future: ' In cash terms the change is minimal, but it is a direct response to the government’s desire for greater concentration of research funding. As part of plans to distribute the cash amongst a smaller number of universities, Hefce will change the distribution of funding for 2*, 3* and 4* work, as judged by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. The old weightings of 1:3:7 will be changed to 1:3:9. The shift will benefit institutions that have a higher proportion of 4* research in the 2008 RAE. First estimates from the Research Fortnight Benchmarking application show Oxford and Cambridge gaining about £4m a year between them, a rise of about 3 per cent, with the losers scattered among the English members of the various university groupings.'