Universities Minister Jo Johnson has today rightly recognised the crucial importance of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) in delivering economic impact, distributing the effect of research and commercialisation across the country and implementing the forthcoming Industrial Strategy.

The National Centre for Universities and Business is encouraged by the Minister’s request to Research England to reflect on the level of additional uplift for HEIF. Further endowment of HEIF, which is shown to deliver an additional £7.90 of knowledge exchange income per additional £1 invested, would represent a lasting strategic commitment to the UK’s research base and its capability to deliver the quality research which births leading-edge technological innovations. Universities’ role in ensuring the UK’s global competitiveness in the context of Brexit cannot be overstated; and their importance in increasing levels of research and development spending – as noted by the Minister today, and reflected in the work of our Growing Value task forces – should be recognised and underpinned in the long term.

Dr David Docherty, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business, said:

‘Committing to considering an uplift to HEIF is an important statement of intent, and will reassure the UK’s higher education institutions that their role in delivering growth is recognised and prioritised by Government. We also support an increase in HEIF funding to £250m a year, as per the recommendation of the Witty Review, and believe that the stability and flexibility this would offer would be especially potent in the context of the uncertain environment presently faced by UK universities.’



National Centre for Universities and Business

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Shivaun Meehan