Wales 'Losing out on PS21m a Year' in Research Cash; PLAID CYMRU WANTS MORE FUNDING FOR UNIVERSITIES

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Wales 'Losing out on PS21m a Year' in Research Cash; PLAID CYMRU WANTS MORE FUNDING FOR UNIVERSITIES


Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON Political Editor david.williamson@walesonline.co.uk

WALES is failing to receive a fair share of research and development funding and could be missing out on PS21m a year, Plaid Cymru has claimed.

The party will this week call for the creation of a new Research Council for Wales and argues that it makes "perfect sense" to do so when education and economic development are now the responsibility of the Assembly.

In 2011-12 Welsh universities received just 3.6% (PS50.9m) of funding from the seven research councils, according to research by the House of Commons Library.

Plaid Arfon MP Hywel Williams said he will call for "a specific new law to ensure that Wales receives its fair share of research and development funding".

He said: "As economic development and education are already devolved to Wales, it makes perfect sense that we should have our fair share of research and development funding. Under the current model Wales receives 3.6% of the UK research budget.

"This falls short of the 5% that we would be entitled to were the calculation to be based on the Barnett formula. This means that Wales is currently losing out on around PS21m a year of vital funding that could bring about advancements in science, engineering and technology, health and social science."

He added: "Research councils currently award funding on the basis of excellence and in a way consistent with the Haldane principles. This would not change.

"But a Welsh Research Council could come to a judgement on Welsh research as a whole, more effectively identify areas for development in Wales, identify synergies and would operate in the light of Welsh priorities.

"Last year, Plaid Cymru secured an extra PS10m for the science park in Bangor from the Welsh Government. We are determined to build on this success and my hope is that this Bill would secure funds to attract even more investors to the Bangor area.

"As a thriving university city, Bangor is just one of many areas of Wales that could benefit hugely from this Bill."

Mr Williams, who sits on the Science and Technology committee, added: "We recently published a report looking at how research and development at universities can bring benefits to local industries. …

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