UCL researchers investigate regional variations in research spending

A report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute unpicks assumptions about the spread of research funding across the UK’s regions.

UCL researchers Sarah Chaytor, Grace Gottlieb and Graeme Reid, from the Office of the Vice-Provost for Research, Innovation and Global Engagement, investigated patterns of research spending within the UK and compared them with the UK’s research comparators.

The report finds that UK and EU regions with the highest overall R&D spend contain the greatest variation in levels of spending and are often home to sub-regions with low funding levels.

The researchers also make six recommendations to develop more resilient regional R&D initiatives.

Co-author Grace Gottlieb said: “This report challenges received wisdom on funding patterns and resulting policy; we hope it proves useful in shedding light on some of these nuances and informs guiding principles for regional R&D initiatives going forward.”

Co-author Professor Graeme Reid said: “Previous attempts to use R&D for regional development have had mixed success. Too many of these initiatives began with high hopes and big ambitions – but were then cut short before they had time to deliver results.”

Co-author Sarah Chaytor said: “Stimulating greater collaboration between universities within and across regions, including those with very different characteristics, could enhance the impact of research within regions. This also requires recognising the vital role of local leadership in strengthening regional and national R&D.”

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