Submission from the Office of Science
and Innovation, Department of Trade and Industry
2005-06 WINTER SUPPLEMENTARY
The Winter Supplementary Estimate for Request
for Resource 2 is to take up previously unused provision both
through the End Year Flexibility (EYF) mechanism and from the
Science Budget's Unallocated Provision.
The Main Estimates are prepared before the previous
year's outcome is known, and thus any EYF required is included
in Supplementary Estimates.
Unallocated provisions are set out within the
publication "Science Budget Allocations 2005-06 to 2007-08"
(available at http://www.ost.gov.uk/research/funding/budget05-08/allocations.pdf)
and consist principally of the budget for the Large Facilities
CapitalFund and that for the additional costs of international
subscriptions paid by ResearchCouncils where the extra cost is
attributed to changes in Net National Income andcurrency movements.
OST allocates out these amounts as the needs become clear.
Responses to the Committee's questions are as
How does OST ensure that it retains the financial
flexibility to remain responsive to new demands and opportunities
as they arise?
As explained in the Allocations Booklet, OST
has allocated out virtually the whole of the Science Budget to
the Research Councils and other delivery partners for the 3 years
of the Spending Review period. The Research Councils themselves
have built into their Delivery Plans a degree of flexibility to
enable them to respond to new demands and opportunities.
The Committee would like a note on how the additional
£141,000,000 payable to ESRC, over and above the provision
outlined in the Main Estimate in July, will be spent. It would
also like to know for what reason this additional sum is not included
in the ESRC's five year strategic plan, published three days before
the winter supplementary estimates.
To promote university research sustainability,
Spending Review 2002 allocated £12GM to increase the proportion
of costs paid by the Research Councils for the projects they fund,
as described in "Science Budget Allocations 2005-06 to 2007-08",
page 10. The Councils decided to add a supplement of £21
million from their own budgets, giving a total amount of £141
million for 2005-06. This enhancement was not paid out on individual
grants (as it will be in future) but as a single payment to each
university on the basis of assessed levels of research. The Economic
and Social Research Council acted as coordinating agent on behalf
of OST and made payments to all the eligible universities. These
payments were made in July 2005. The increase in Council's grant-in-aid
is for this end and not for the Council's programmes.
The additional sum was not included in the Council's
plan because ESRC was merely acting as an agent for OST in distributing
the £141 million sustainability funding.
The Committee would like a note on the reasons
for the increase of £42,000,000 in the grant available to
The total of £42.2 million grant-in-aid
increase comprises £10.7 million EYF drawn by PPARC for programme
purposes, and £30.9 million for international subscriptions
as described above, plus £2.2 million distribution of other
central held funds, less a £1.5 million adjustment from internal
The grants payable to CCLRC for both normal
activities and the development of the Diamond Synchrotron have
also increased by a total of £103,544,000. Whilst this now
aligns the main CCLRC grant with that proposed in the Science
Budget Allocation 2005-06 to 2007-08, published by DTI in May
2005, there is no such explanation for the increase to the grant
for the Diamond Synchrotron. What is the reason for the additional
The additional funding for Diamond of £23.2
million represents previously agreed allocations of capital to
Diamond from the Large Facilities fund which have now been drawn
down for utilisation in the construction of these new facilities.
The Committee would like a note on the contribution
the additional funds allocated to OST and the Research Councils
will make to meeting Public Service Agreement 2: Science and Innovation.
The additional funding is part of the Science
Budget. The Science Budget is the major funding source provided
by Government in support of Public Service Agreement 2 and is
used to support research in HEIs, support the updating of the
research base infrastructure and promoting exploitation of research
through the funding of knowledge transfer activities in universities
and public sector research establishments.