Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Research Funding Increase at DFID

Interesting news reported by Research Fortnight yesterday: DFID research funding is to increase by 60% and DH by 12%, whilst Defra and the Home Office are going to decrease by 21% and 9% respectively.

In cash terms, this means DFID's overall budget will rise from £7.6m to £11m in 2014-15. Research on 'wealth creation' will see the biggest increase, with 'water and sanitation' and 'governance and security' next in line. However, 'global partnerships' is the largest recipient of DFID's largesse.

But this isn't the whole picture, and smaller areas have had a disproportionately large increase, such as those focusing on humanitarian issues.

Whilst this is good news for those working in this area, there's a cruel irony in DFID's budget: they're getting more funding for research, but less for administration. Their administrative budget has been cut by a third. This means that they're going to struggle to actually distribute the research money. In the words of a yellow cartoon character, 'd'oh!' It's hoped that this - ahem - 'difficulty' can be offset by getting RCUK, Wellcome et al to help out. It all smacks slightly of crisis relief efforts, with sacks of cash being thrown off the back of lorries by third party workers to outstretched, imploring hands. Which I guess is apt for the department that deals with International Aid.

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