Magazine article Times Higher Education

Willetts: I Don't Want Research Restricted: News

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Willetts: I Don't Want Research Restricted: News

Article excerpt

Funds are allocated on project quality not desire to support elite, says minister. Chris Parr reports.

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, has maintained that he does not have an agenda for further concentrating research budget allocations on elite institutions.

Speaking as part of a launch event for the 2013 Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 rankings of young universities, Mr Willetts said that research funding should be based on the projects that were bidding for money, not just the institutions where they were based.

The government has been accused of creating a concentration of research in elite universities by asking for funding to be cut for lower-rated research and focusing capital investment on large projects involving such institutions.

But Mr Willetts told the audience at The Sunday Times Festival of Education at Wellington College in Berkshire on 21 June: "I certainly don't want to see further concentration in the sense of restricting research activity to a smaller number of universities.

"It is very important that if there is a strong department or a strong strand of research in a particular discipline within a university, it is recognised."

Mr Willetts was also asked about the funding balance between blue-sky research and "applied impactful" research, a question that has become more controversial owing to the impact measure in the forthcoming research excellence framework.

But the minister said he did not wish to see blue-sky research missing out on cash. …

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