Research funding for business schools revealed in latest report

UK funding for business and management research in decline whilst funding from EU sources increase

Our latest annual Research Income report has found that funding from UK sources for business and management research in higher education has declined by 25% in real terms over the last six years, with international sources increasingly plugging the gap.

The report, based on the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data, shows that the funding contribution from all UK sources has decreased from over three quarters (78%) in 2011/12 to two thirds (66%) in 2016/17. Conversely, the funding contribution from all EU sources has increased from 19% in 2011/12 to 27% in 2016/17. Non-EU international sources have risen from 3% in 2011/12 to 7% in 2016/17.

In particular, UK central government bodies which represented 27% of total funding in 2011/12 have declined to 21% in 2016/17. In contrast, income from EU government bodies has increased from 17% in 2011/12 to almost a quarter (23%) in 2016/17. In three of the last four years, business and management received more funding from EU government bodies than from the UK central government. In 2016/17, the EU was only marginally behind the research councils as the largest contributor.

At £45.3m, research income for business and management from UK sources is now £9m less than in 2011/12. Income from EU and non-EU sources for business and management is now £18.2m and £4.9m respectively, compared to £13.4m and £2m in 2011/12.

“The increasing reliance of the business and management sector on research funding from the EU is very concerning in light of Brexit. From our previous research, nearly half (44%) of business schools expect to lose research funding from EU sources in the next 12 months, and presently it is not clear how this funding gap will be filled once the UK leaves the EU,” comments Anne Kiem, Chief Executive, Chartered ABS.

In the period 2011/12 to 2016/17, total research income for higher education institutions (HEIs) overall increased by nearly a third (30%) from £4.5 billion to £5.9 billion. Since 2011/12, HEIs have seen increases of 24% from UK central government, 28% from research councils and 23% from UK industry.  STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects received an average increase in research funding from UK and international sources of 36% between 2011/12 and 2016/17, whereas business and management saw a fall of 1%.

Anne Kiem, Chief Executive, Chartered ABS concludes: “The UK Government has committed to replacing any lost research income for STEM research caused by Brexit but has not made any such commitment for business and management. It is vital for the UK’s economic productivity drive that an inter-disciplinary approach be taken wherever possible, so that business and management can work with other fields to ensure that innovations developed through research result in commercially viable products and services.”

The report also analyses how funding compares across regions, mission groups and schools.

Download Research Income 2018