Response to Scottish Funding Council indicative allocations

This afternoon (Thursday 13 April), the Scottish Funding Council published their Indicative university funding allocations AY 2023-24. This follows the passing of the Scottish Government Budget for 2023-24. Today’s indicative allocations set out the funding available to specific university grants for teaching, research and innovation and clarify the specific funding available to individual institutions for the next academic year. Universities Scotland highlighted in December when the budget was announced that the higher education sector would be facing a real-terms cut in its budget as it has every year since 2014-15.

Responding to today’s allocations, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone, Convener of Universities Scotland said:

“With the right funding and policy environment, Scotland has the potential to have the best higher education sector in the world.

“However, the overall picture for universities is a flat cash budget, with seven institutions seeing cash cuts to their teaching and research. With inflation still sitting in double figures, universities will find it difficult to manage real terms cuts of that scale. Provision for students, who need a greater intensity of quality support after two tough pandemic years, is likely to be affected.  

“Research funding is also concerning. Not enough is being invested in the Research Excellence Grant to reward institutions for their world-leading research performance last year. A fixed funding pot means most institutions are being cut in real terms, compromising the investment they can leverage directly and their impact on Scotland’s economy more broadly. We welcome the increase in innovation funding and hope that will help to accelerate delivery of a new innovation strategy, which is expected imminently, but innovation depends on a bedrock of well-supported, excellent research.

“Presiding over managed decline cannot be the direction that the new administration actively wants to take. The sector needs to get back to a more sustainable financial footing, equipping it to deliver for the benefit of all. This has to be a priority conversation between institutions, the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council.”

Notes: Last year in the Research Excellence Framework, all Scottish universities were judged to have undertaken research judged to be of “world-leading”. Our universities undertake world-leading and internationally excellent research in all 34 REF subject areas.