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The 2021 edition of the Chartered ABS report on research funding for UK business schools

The new edition of our annual publication on research income for UK business schools shows that total income has grown for the fourth consecutive year and reached a record high in 2019/20. Income from the UK research councils increased significantly since 2018/19 whilst income from other major sources was unchanged. Reliance on funding from the EU remains significant and represents more than one-quarter of all research income for UK business schools.

The total income for Business & Management of £77.6m in 2019/20 is 6% greater than the previous year and 19% greater than five years ago. However, after accounting for inflation, total research funding for Business & Management was up by 5% relative to five years ago but down by 9% compared to ten years ago. Across all academic subjects total research funding declined by 1% in real-terms since 2014/15.

The report is based on the latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and offers an analysis of funding levels compared to five and ten years previously to enable longer-term benchmarking. This year’s report also contains details of active Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) being undertaken by UK business schools and demonstrates the wide-ranging expertise benefitting businesses across the country through these relationships. The report also finds that the geographic distribution of Business & Management research income has seen some rebalancing during the last decade.

The 6% growth in research income for Business & Management since 2018/19 was driven by increases from the UK research councils (+22%) and EU industry (+114%). Falls in income were recorded from UK-based charities under a competitive process (-16%), other forms of UK-based charities (-10%), and non-EU other sources (-17%) but these represent relatively small amounts of funding in absolute terms.

The research income for UK business schools originating from EU sources has more than doubled over the last ten years, rising from 15% of all income to 27% over this period. Over the same time the share of total funding from UK sources has fallen from 83% to 67%. It is important that the UK’s associate membership of the Horizon Europe programme offers the opportunity to access research funding on terms similar to those of an EU member if a shortfall in funding is to be avoided in the coming years following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The report also contains analysis on research funding by regions, mission groups and schools, including 5-year and 10-year comparisons.

Download the 2021 Research Income Report here.

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