Slashing research funding is a threat to Global Britain

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the power of publicly-funded research in tackling the biggest global health crisis of the past century. The strength of the response by universities has underlined the country’s genuine claim to be a global research superpower delivering real-world benefits to society.

Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, write:

That is why, like the UK Government, we are committed to leveraging that advantage and growing a 'Global Britain', and to a country which is levelled-up. Universities are powerful allies in helping to deliver these goals.

That said, the scale, immediacy and impact of the announced and potential cuts to UK research budgets, amounting to over £1 billion, will undermine years of investment in our universities and put our research base at risk, not to mention our international reputation. Indeed, there is a real likelihood of the Government’s claims of 'Global Britain' ringing hollow.

Within the UK, no other sector of the economy can claim to have four of the top 20 institutions in the world. This bench-strength has not come about by accident, but from sustained funding, support and investment. Universities have shown we can and do deliver for society and the economy, but we can’t and we won’t if we are subject to swingeing cuts to research budgets.

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This article appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 19 March 2021



The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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