The SNP Government has announced a one-off £75 million increase in funding for Scotland’s universities to protect their world-leading research programmes against the financial impact of COVID-19.
This will help secure the jobs and training needed to support ongoing and future research, meaning institutions can concentrate fully on planning the long-term future of a sector so vital to the Scottish economy.
The new funding will replace lost income, protect jobs, and help universities focus more effort on the high priority research needed to fight the outbreak.
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead MSP, has written to the UK Government Minister of State for Universities, calling for a UK investment and support package for Higher Education (HE).
His request includes additional financial support for universities across Scotland, to ensure they and their graduates can continue to play a key role in the UK’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic.
Scottish university income has been significantly affected by the pandemic, most notably by a loss of international student income, cancelled conference bookings and returned accommodation fees.
Recent Scottish Funding Council (SFC) analysis indicated Scottish universities face a loss of £72 million due to COVID-19 this academic year alone, with a collective operating deficit of between £384 million and £651 million forecast for next academic year.
The SNP Government is working with the SFC and the sector to mitigate current issues across the range of university activities including research, supporting teaching excellence and student well-being.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“I very much welcome this funding and believe the UK Government too should play its part.
“So far, their main interventions have been focused on the HE sector south of the border. We need the UK Government to step up to the plate and join with Scottish universities and the SNP Government, to build a support package that will protect the sector from the impact of this virus.”
Universities Scotland Convenor, Professor Andrea Nolan said:
“We welcome the SNP Government’s recognition of the role research and innovation will play in supporting business and industry and strengthening our post COVID-19 economy and society.”