Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by University of East Anglia, Norwich

  Whilst we welcome the opportunity to contribute to the current call for evidence, our first comment is that calls for evidence are too short term in their focus. In order to inquire into and examine the impact of the "Realising our Potential" White Paper, a long term evaluation would be more appropriate.

  We would agree that closer relationships have been fostered between the public sector's investment in research and charities eg The Wellcome Trust involvement with JIF and University Challenge with the Gatsby Foundation; the support of charities in these areas has been welcomed. However, there are still issues relating to infrastructure under the dual funding system whereby research funding from charities is not effectively supported by the dual funding system except in top rated science departments. Overall QR only provides 13 per cent towards charitable income whereas the real indirect costs of Universities will be of the order of 80 per cent or more and Research Councils provide 46 per cent of staff costs. The dual funding system is an important part of our infrastructure but a clear concordat and consistent funding methodology is still required and has not been delivered, (paragraphs 8.2 and 1.18.8).

  The changes envisaged to postgraduate training (eg Masters as normal entry into postgraduate research) are only now being pursued seriously and have not yet been fully implemented. Therefore the effect on "Realising our Potential" cannot be evaluated, (paragraph 1.18.12).

  Finally, in seeking to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of government-funded research, effort needs to be made to target public funds to those areas where private funding is failing. Public funds will not then be duplicated by private funds on the same area whilst other areas face under-investment, (paragraph 8.2).

  I hope that these comments are of use to you. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact my colleague Mr John Brind in the Research and Business Development Office.

12 June 2000

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