Government Cuts to ODA Funding Will Negatively Affect UK Universities, UUK Says

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 15, 2021

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UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has asserted that the Official Development Assistance (ODA) confirmed funding of the new budget limitation at £120 million for 2021-22 would primarily and deeply affect UK universities.

According to a press release of the UUK, research collaborations between UK universities as well as existing or upcoming projects will get discontinued as a result of the cuts, which potentially will damage the economy.

The change came following the chancellor’s decision to drop overseas aid spending 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of gross national income, reports.

In the past, the UK has been predominant in addressing plastic waste management, developing renewable energy and clean water technology, improving worldwide labor laws, and rolling out 5G networks in lower- and middle-income countries. All of these projects were implemented on funds provided by ODA.

Based on last year’s data, ODA-funded projects granted UK universities the chance to battle the COVID-19 pandemic through specialized virus detection technology actively. Online rehab services to help those suffering from the long-term effects of the disease were also provided.

Professor Julia Buckingham, President of the Universities UK, has highlightedODA’s impact on universities to strengthen global networks and improve people’s quality of life.

“ODA funding has enabled universities to strengthen their global networks and improve millions of lives across the world while providing opportunities for UK researchers to advance their careers and generate knock-on benefits for local communities and the wider economy,” Buckingham noted.

According to Buckingham, cutting the budget at such a late stage in the financial year will force many UK universities to make difficult choices, leaving them at an unfavorable position to collaborate with international partners and belittling the UK’s role in the world’s biggest actual challenge.

Buckingham also said that the government’s budget reduction decision would also result in universities facing difficulties and decreasing potential collaboration with international partners.

“This decision runs counter to the government’s stated commitment to increase investment in R&D to position the UK as a scientific superpower, and is especially disappointing in light of the enormous contribution universities have made – including through ODA-funded projects – towards supporting the country through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Buckingham further explained.

President Buckingham demanded the government to continue supporting the UUK throughout their promising projects by asking for reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to growing the investment in Research & Development to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2027.

The need for future support for international research collaboration will question the UK’s position as science superpower.

Recently, Stanford University has started implementing the new climate and sustainability-focused school, which proved to be necessary, especially during the pandemic.

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