The UK government has laid out plans to secure the UK’s position as a global science and research powerhouse. While the plans have been confidently ushered in by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which represents over 500 universities, sector professionals fear that the impactful role of universities has been overlooked.
The Research and Development Roadmap strives to support cutting-edge research, as well as attract international talent and cut unnecessary bureaucracy as part of a lasting plan to bolster the UK’s reputation in science, research, entrepreneurship and innovation. The initiative is supported by a £300m investment to update scientific infrastructure.
Joanna Newman, chief executive and secretary general of the ACU, said: “With the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit transforming the landscape in higher education, the ACU welcomes the UK government’s initiative and investment in a new R&D roadmap. Universities have clearly demonstrated their essential role in delivering R&D in society during the COVID-19 pandemic. From cutting-edge medical science to supporting local communities, universities have shown the many ways they have an impact on society when it is needed most.
“The centrality of universities to this new agenda is clear. We see this as another opportunity to continue to strengthen the relationship between government and universities,” she added.
“The multiple track approach to the roadmap – to both attract international students to UK universities and to collaborate in international research partnerships – is especially welcome. Focusing on R&D should put universities in a central role and there is a lot to be welcomed in this document. The role of universities must be highlighted. They are at the heart of realising the roadmap’s success.”
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