To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the level of demand on the UK Research and Innovation budget.
17 March 2021
In contrast to the number of open calls that UKRI runs, which remained relatively stable with an additional surge to deliver specific COVID-19 related funding, the number of applications for funding from UKRI has risen over the last year, including in response to COVID-19. To date the trend has already shown an increase of over 1,000 applications ending December 2020, with a further projection of another 2,000 applications to be received in the final quarter. These increases are against an active portfolio of approximately 14,000 grants.
UKRI has also responded to increased demand to help stabilise the system and the pressures felt across the research and innovation community. Active grants continue to attract a high number of requested changes through their life, but more recently hundreds more enquiries have resulted from COVID-19 disruption, generating many requests for both costed and no cost extensions with £90 million in costed grant extensions paid this year.
Other stabilising interventions that UKRI has made in response to the pandemic include bringing forwards £100 million of Quality Related funding from Academic Year 2020-21 to AY 2019-20, and providing additional funding through the Sustaining University Research Expertise (SURE) Fund in financial year 2020-21.