SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has expressed concern after the it emerged Northern Ireland has received less than 1% of funding from the British government’s main research body in 2020/21.
An independent review into UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) revealed that universities, colleges and research bodies here received just 0.9% of the total funding awarded.
Foyle MLA Ms McLaughlin said:
"Research conducted here in Northern Ireland is world-leading. Every day, professionals across our colleges, universities and other institutions develop research that addresses real world problems and spurs progress, breaking new ground across society. Among our many achievements are driving the advances that contribute to new medical treatments, sparking innovative scientific discoveries and helping us learn more about the places we live and work.
“The research undertaken across the North is also essential to informing civic discourse and the public policy approaches we adopt to the major challenges facing all of our lives. Given the size of Northern Ireland we punch well above our weight when it comes to our research contributions and we have much to be proud of in recent years.
"It is deeply concerning that our research institutions received less than 1% of the total spend of the British government’s main research body in 2020/21. If the government is truly committed to distributing opportunity in an equitable way, then it must adopt a proactive and deliberate approach and institutions outside London must get their fair share of funding to enable them to continue doing this essential work.
"I have today written to the vice-chancellors of both universities here in the North to pledge the SDLP's support in this matter and I want to reassure all of our research professionals that we will be pursuing this matter to ensure that bodies here are not left behind when it comes to this funding in future."