Supplementary submission from the Arts
and Humanities Research Council
1. THE REDUCTION
OF EYF IN
The Committee has asked the AHRC about the circumstances
of the reduction in availability of EYF in January 2007 as relevant
to the context for the CSR result and the impact and consequences
of that reduction.
The AHRC had an EYF of £14.8 million on
1.4.2006. The majority of this sum was transferred to the OSI
from the DfES when AHRB became a Research Council in April 2005.
It had previously been agreed with our funders at that time (the
four Funding Councils of the UK), and with the DfES, that we would
actively seek to build up an EYF pot as we established a range
of programmes over a period of five or so years. As the programmes
became fully operational we had a plan to utilise our existing
EYF progressively up the end of 2007-08.
To implement this plan, we had put in train
a number of new strategic programmes, and accelerated and enhanced
others. The rationale behind these actions was made explicit in
our Delivery Plan, new Strategic Plan and the early drafts of
our CSR submission.
Research Councils programmes take significant
time both to get started and to stop once they are started. Reductions
in expenditure in 2007-08, whatever action we took, would result
in repercussions in future years. We had limited flexibility regarding
those areas of activity that could be "switched off"
or "turned down" so as to affect the level of spend
in the next financial year. Nevertheless, we provided a suite
of actions that we could take. After discussions with our Council,
the reduction of £5.3 million of EYF was managed by:
Reducing the sum available for awards
in Research Leave by £2 million
Reducing the Strategic Programme
Management Fund by £0.57 million
Deferring the Strategic Resource
Enhancement programme for 1 year, releasing £1.5 million
Reducing the budgets for KT Partnerships
and KT catalyst schemes by £300,000
Reducing the funding for collaborative
research training schemes by £200,000
By making the required cuts in our responsive
mode programmes in the first instance, we also retained sufficient
resource to pursue the delivery of our strategic priorities.
Reduction in Research Leave allocation:
This is a popular scheme, delivering added value
to the arts and humanities research community and the HE sector,
as well as having an impact in society more widely. Consistently
high quality outputs are generated from this area of activity,
with hundreds of outputs being generated each year.
Reduction in Strategic Programme Management Fund:
We lost some of our flexibility to respond to
opportunities to support new and emerging initiatives that would
fit well with our strategic aims, and where research is urgently
Reduction in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships/Knowledge
Dissemination and Knowledge Transfer are central
to AHRC's Strategic Plan. Reductions in budgets directly affect
the volume of awards that can be made. Opportunities for KT between
SMEs and the research base were reduced.
Reduction in Collaborative Research Training awards:
This scheme is our main mechanism for supporting
subject-specialist research skills training and encourages HEIs
to collaborate in the formation of training networks. The budget
reduction impacted upon the provision of essential subject-specific
research training for doctoral students and limited opportunities
for inter-institutional collaboration in this area.
2. THE CSR SETTLEMENT
The Committee has asked the AHRC what level of
resource we would have needed to maintain our current suite of
programmes at the existing level.
Based on our projections of current and planned
expenditure, we had forecast that to maintain volume in our existing
programmes to engage appropriately with the Cross-Council challenges,
fund FECs at 80%, and develop those strategic areas that we had
identified as priorities in our Strategic and Delivery Plans,
we estimated we would have required about £345 million over
the CSR period. In the event, we have received £316.7 million,
including our estimated £58.4 million for FECs over the period.
Our allocation provided to us, as to the other
Research Councils, enables us to:
Commit a minimum of £2.5 million
in collaboration with the TSB in the CSR07 period.
Participate in new cross-Council
multi-disciplinary research programmes.
Cover our contribution to the Shared
Service Centre at a level agreed with RCUK.
Fund our share of the costs of RCUK,
including programmes on research careers and diversity, science
and society and the funding of the RCUK contribution to the new
International Fellowships scheme, as well as the RCUK secretariat,
RCUK's international offices and other agreed joint activities.
We welcome the opportunity, building on our
existing relationships, to engage with the other Councils and
with other stakeholders, such as the Technology Strategy Board,
in a wide range of important strategic programmes, where our research
community are rightly seen as indispensable partners.
The Committee has also asked us to provide information
on the consequences and impact of the CSR, especially in relation
to our finances.
As a result of the settlement, the AHRC has
had to make further changes to its planned programme of activities
to enable us to achieve the targets above.
In responsive mode, we reduced the allocations
to our Research Grants, Research Leave and Creative and Performing
Our suite of cross-Council strategic programmes
has benefited from the advice from DIUS that we should aim to
fund these programmes as though we had received an additional
5% funding allocation.
The Committee has expressed particular interest
in our postgraduate provision. Over the three years of the CSR,
the volume of awards made is projected to fall from around 4500
to around 3650a reduction of 19%. These reductions have
fallen across both Masters and Doctoral programmes and the resource
generated from them has been redirected into priority strategic
At the most general levels impact, our community
already receives a lower level of funding proportional to the
size of the community than many of the science based subject areas.
The AHRC's share of the Science Budget falls from 2.8% in 2007-08
to 2.6% in 2010-11. The impact of this will be harder in the first
two years, with some relief in the third year.
Nevertheless, we have set out in our previous
note to the Committee the exciting array of work in research,
postgraduate provision and knowledge transfer that we will be
able to undertake in the three next three years and we refer the
Committee to that note.