UK Business Schools Fear Research Funding Gap Post-Brexit

Research income from UK sources is now £9 million less than in 2011/12

UK management research funding has fallen by one-quarter over the past six years while EU funding has ballooned by 8% — highlighting the challenges business schools face in funding research after Brexit.

A report from the Chartered Association of Business Schools found that funding rom all UK sources has decreased from over three quarters (78%) in 2011/12 to two thirds (66%) in 2016/17.

Conversely, the funding contribution from all EU sources has increased from 19% in 2011/12 to 27% in 2016/17. Non-EU international sources have risen from 3% in 2011/12 to 7% in 2016/17.

At £45.3 million, research income for business and management from UK sources is now £9 million less than in 2011/12.

Income from EU and non-EU sources for business and management is now £18.2 million and £4.9 million respectively, compared to £13.4 million and £2 million in 2011/12.

The £9 million fall is significant because business school academics have warned of the need to find alternative sources of research funding once the UK leaves the European Union in 2019.

Research is important for business schools because it is how academics are rated and a school’s success in research directly contributes to their position in rankings. More broadly, research has advanced the science of management over the past several decades.

Anne Kiem, chief executive of CABS, said: “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%) 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.”

UK central government bodies, which represented 27% of total funding in 2011/12, have declined to 21% in 2016/17.

In contrast, income from EU government bodies has increased from 17% in 2011/12 to almost a quarter (23%) in 2016/17.

In three of the last four years, business and management received more funding from EU government bodies than from the UK central government. In 2016/17, the EU was only marginally behind the research councils as the largest contributor.

Business schools’ research budgets have come under pressure as total research income for higher education institutes overall in the UK has increased by nearly a third (30%) from £4.5 billion to £5.9 billion, mostly to fund STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — research.

Since 2011/12, HEIs have seen increases of 24% from UK central government, 28% from research councils and 23% from UK industry. STEM subjects received an average increase in research funding from UK and international sources of 36% between 2011/12 and 2016/17, whereas business and management saw a fall of 1%.

Anne added: “The UK Government has committed to replacing any lost research income for STEM research because of Brexit but has not made any such commitment for business and management.

“It is vital for the UK’s economic productivity drive, that an inter-disciplinary 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.”