The 2022 edition of the Chartered ABS report on research funding for UK business schools

The 2022 edition of the Chartered ABS’ annual report on research income for UK business schools reveals that total research income in 2020/21 increased for the fifth consecutive year, in addition to marking a fourth consecutive record-high.

The report is based on the latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and contains an analysis of funding levels over the previous five years (2015/16-2020/21), in addition to a snapshot of funding levels ten years ago (2010/11), for the purpose of longer-term analysis. This year’s report includes for the first time a brief section on research proposal win rate for grant applications to the Economic and Social Research Council, to contextualise some of the trends seen in funding received from research councils. The report also contains details of active Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) in which UK business schools are currently engaged. These partnerships demonstrate the wide-ranging expertise business schools have to offer for the benefit of businesses across the country, highlighting the value they provide not just to the businesses with which they are directly engaged but to the communities supported by these businesses and to society at large.

The total research income for UK business schools stood at £80.1m in 2020/21, up 3% from the previous year and 25% higher in nominal terms than the total five years ago. This is greater than the average increase of 12% found over the same period for all subject areas. However, when accounting for inflation, total research income for UK business schools is down by 4% compared to ten years ago (2010/11).

The net increase was due largely to substantial increases from the UK research councils, which taken together increased by £6.3m, or 26%. Of the research councils, the ESRC continues to supply the most research funding to UK business schools, having increased in the last year by 25% to reach a total of £14.4m.

Overall, funding from EU sources fell by 13% over the last year, due in large part to a significant decrease in allocations from EU government bodies and EU industry. This could be an early sign of an adverse impact on research funding due to the UK leaving the EU. Funding from EU sources as a percentage of total funding is now at its lowest level since 2015/16. It is also noteworthy that research income from industry sources saw significant declines across the board, with UK, EU, and non-EU industry sources all falling.

The report also contains analysis on research funding by regions, mission groups, and schools, and comparisons with other subject areas.

Download the full 2022 Research Income Report here.