The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s grant letter was published this month (March, 2017). The charity research funding support element was maintained in flat cash terms at £198M but the method of calculating it will change.
The charities element of universities’ QR funding has previously been calculated pro rata to research income from relevant sources in the two most recent years. For 2017/18, these allocations will be calculated pro rata to research income in the most recent four-year period (2012/13 to 2015/16). This change is to moderate the more dynamic effects on funding that would otherwise arise from the new financial reporting standard FRS 102. The latter means that from 2015/16, a significant grant for an asset (such as a building or equipment) may now appear in full in income in a particular year, instead of being reported in fractional shares spread over the expected lifetime of the asset. This could result in more significant year-on-year changes to this funding stream than previously. Taking research income averaged over a four-year period reduces the year-on-year fluctuation in these grants.