Where do UK business schools get their research funds from?
A "very concerning" situation. Source: Taylor Nicole on Unsplash

UK’s B-Schools are getting less research funds from domestic sources, a new report has found – most investments are instead increasingly coming from the European Union and non-EU countries.

In 2016/17, £68.5 million was invested in business school research, of which EU government bodies make up the second biggest source of funding (£16.1 million), just behind UK research councils which contributed £17.3 million, according to the Chartered Association of Business Schools (Cabs). As Brexit puts the country’s higher education sector into great uncertainty, this reliance is a cause for concern.

“The increasing reliance of the business and management sector on research funding from the EU is very concerning in light of Brexit. From our previous research, nearly half (44 per cent) of business schools expect to lose research funding from EU sources in the next 12 months – and presently it is not clear how this funding gap will be filled once the UK leaves the EU,” Anne Kiem, Cabs’ chief executive said to Times Higher Education.

Cabs used recent Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data to analyse the change in funding contributions from different souces. It found that funds from all UK sources have fallen to 66 percent in 2016/17 from 78 percent in 2011/12.

Funds contributed by EU sources increased from 19 percent to 27 percent during the same time period. The same upward trend applied to non-EU international sources, which rose from 3 percent to 7 percent.

While the UK has committed to picking up the shortfall for any loss of research income for STEM research post-Brexit, there isn’t a similar commitment for business and management research. The report also showed how business and management has been falling behind other disciplines when it comes to getting research funds. Funding for STEM has increased 36 percent in the last six years, while business saw a 1 percent fall.

Kiem called for the UK government to pick up any shortfall in funding after Britain leaves the EU.

“The UK government has committed to replacing any lost research income for STEM research caused by Brexit, but has not made any such commitment for business and management,” said Ms Kiem.

“It is vital for the UK’s economic productivity drive that an interdisciplinary approach be taken wherever possible, so that business and management can work with other fields to ensure that innovations developed through research result in commercially viable products and services.”

£1 = US$1.42 at the time of writing.

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