Glasgow Uni teaching and research fund cut in real terms

Sam Wigglesworth
Louise Wilson

The University of Glasgow has received only a 1.3% increase in funding for teaching and research from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), 1.9% down from the Scottish average.

Similar gaps in funding between the Scottish average and the other ancient universities of Scotland, such as Edinburgh, St Andrews and Stirling, have been noted by the University and College Union (UCU). In fact, Edinburgh, St Andrews and three other institutions have seen a cut in the teaching and research grants for 2013-14, compared to 2012-13.

This low level of funding provided for the ancient universities of Scotland and their research facilities, underpins concerns among the institutions for how their funding can continue to be sustained and how they can compete internationally, given their drop in world rankings in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings which saw Glasgow fall 37 places to 139th position.

University officials remain confident that funding will not effect the quality of teaching and research. A spokesperson for the University said: “The University of Glasgow is one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and continues to compete successfully on a global scale. It is a challenging environment but we are confident that the outstanding work carried out by our staff and researchers across a range of fields and endeavors will continue to secure significant funding from government, charitable trusts and private sources.”

The UCU however are concerned that the SFC is not targeting the most important issues. The UCU argue that job stability and institutions being able to create renowned reputations in research are of equal importance. The current figures suggest these latter issues are being ignored.

Mary Senior, UCU’s Scottish Official, expressed worry over many Scottish universities receiving only small increases when taking into account inflation. She said: “UCU is concerned that the SFC is diverting funds from the core areas of teaching and research to fund projects which will increase the bureaucracy in obtaining grants.”

Meanwhile, newer institutions such as the University of the Highland and Islands and Scotland’s Rural University College have seen huge increases in their teaching a research funding, receiving an extra £6.5+ million and £4+ million from the previous year.

These concerns about Glasgow University funding were touched upon in December when the Russell Group released their ‘Jewels in the Crown’ report. The report touches on some of these concerns, and most crucially, the lack of public funding available to universities in the UK. The report concludes that something needs to change with relation to the funding that these universities receive, otherwise there is a danger that without this support overseas universities could take over, leaving the UK unable to compete.