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The Government provides funding to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which in turn funds independent environmental research in the United Kingdom. NERC's funding from DIUSs science and research budget, has risen from £259 million in 2003-04 to £392 million in 2008-09. The increased sum includes support for the major new £1 billion
programme living with environmental change, launched on 18 June, involving a wide range of partners, to which NERC and the other research councils are providing £363 million over the current spending review period.. The Department also funds the Higher Education Funding Council for England which provides quality related funding for research, including environmental research, in English Higher Education Institutes.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many officials in his Department are wholly or mainly tasked with the negotiation, implementation or administration of EU legislation and consequent policies. 
Mr. Lammy: The Joint International Unit (JIU) supports both the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Children, Schools and Families by promoting and defending the interests of the two Departments; and overseeing the delivery of EU education training and youth programmes. A total of 10 JIU staff work on this EU business for the two Departments. In addition, there are 10 staff working wholly on EU business in the Government Office for Science and the Intellectual Property Office.
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what plans he has for the (a) timetable, (b) remit and (c) methodology for the review of higher education funding planned for 2009; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the equitable outcomes of university schemes to distribute bursaries to students; and what consideration he has given to developing a single national bursary scheme to apply to all universities. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 6 October 2008]: Under the current arrangements, institutions are required to pay a minimum bursary to all students receiving the maximum grant. Beyond this, it is for institutions themselves, subject to approval from OFFA, to decide how to support their students. The latest figures show that acceptances to universities for England are at an all time high, with the proportion of applicants from lower socio-economic groups also up. A national bursary scheme would be very complex and costly to administer, and would lead to reduced support for students at a number of universities, damaging our fair access agenda.
As we made clear during the passage of the legislation introducing the new fee and student support arrangements, there will be an independent review in 2009 which will work on the basis of evidence from the first three years' operation of the variable fee arrangements. The review will report to Parliament. The draft terms of reference were announced to Parliament in 2004 by the then Secretary of State. The final details about the arrangements for the review, its remit and methodology will be determined in due course. That will take place after the Government have conducted a wider debate among both higher education providers and users which will set the framework for the future of Higher Education over the next ten to
fifteen years. The Secretary of State recently announced the next steps to that process in his speech to Universities UK at Cambridge.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what discussions his Department has had with universities and colleges on their response to the boycott by the University and College Union of Israeli Academics; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the effects on the reputation and attractiveness of British universities to prospective students of a boycott of Israeli academics by the University and College Union. 
Boycotts and any severing of links with Israel would be counterproductive, and completely at odds with the principles of open exchange that should underpin academic life. I profoundly believe ending such links would do nothing to promote the Middle East peace process. Both Israel and the occupied territories contain progressives and reactionaries, and the problem with boycotts or moves to severe links is that they make the job of progressives much more difficult and entrench the position of the reactionaries.
The UK Government have made their support of international academic links clear. Alongside the Israeli Government, we have actively supported the establishment of the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange partnershipBIRAXwhich aims to strengthen academic links between the UK and Israel through the awarding of grants to support academic exchanges for research purposes. We are exploring options for supporting academics in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Mr. Lammy: The following table sets out the latest outturn (2005-06), the estimated outturn (2006-07) and the CSR plan (2007-08) for net Government expenditure on research and development in cash terms.
|Outturn 2005-06||Estimated outturn 2006-07||CSR plan 2007-08|
ONS Government R and D Survey
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