£10 Million to Support Specialist Research Institutes’ Funding Shortfall

Research England has announced that it will provide £10 million to support three research institutions whose charity funding has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding has been sourced from the £80 million five-year Specialist Institution Fund announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak at spring budget 2020. The institutions to receive a share of this funding are:

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Despite displaying research excellent and global reach, specialist providers are particularly exposed to financial risk as they have limited opportunity to cross-subsidise between revenue streams. The funding each institution receives will be awarded in proportion to their Quality-related Research (QR) charity support funding.

Executive Chair of Research England David Sweeney said:

‘These institutions undertake vital research into diseases of global importance, including cancer, COVID-19 and tropical diseases that must continue to be supported to save lives around the world.

‘Given the importance of these institutions in tackling research agendas, we have reallocated this funding to ensure these operations are not unduly jeopardised by a reduction in charity funding.’

To be eligible for the Specialist Institution Fund, organisations are required to receive more than 10% of their total income from eligible charity funding and be specialist institutions. This is defined as an institution that concentrates more than 60% of its activity in either one Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student cost centre, or one HESA academic staff cost centre.

While the fund is currently targeted at those providers most exposed to loss of charity funding, it is anticipated that in future years funding will be available to a wider group of specialist institutions. Research England is developing plans for future years of the fund, including a review of the definition of specialist institutions, and will consult on these plans in due course.

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