The plug is being pulled on hundreds of research projects due to Government cuts, warned Daniel Zeichner MP in a debate he led in the Commons this week.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which is responsible for supporting research at Universities, has been left with a £120 million shortfall due to the government’s recent decision to cut the foreign aid budget. Some of that is used to fund research work, with many projects undertaken in Cambridge.
Money from the Department for International Development, distributed by UKRI, previously supported a vast array of Cambridge University projects, including assisting with ending violence against women, girls and children in Jamaica, Ghana, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines; a project helping to get clean drinking water testing in refugee camps in Tanzania and Bangladesh, and crop protection in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Zeichner warned in the Commons, that with just four month’s notice, most of UKRI’s aid-funded research projects are now unlikely to be funded beyond 31st July this Summer regardless of how near completion their work is.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “These are projects aimed at tackling some of the world’s major problems, such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance, and poor health and nutrition across the world. In the past year alone, lessons learned these projects have enabled UK universities to support the national effort against Covid-19 through enhanced virus detection technology and online rehab services to help those suffering with the long-term effects of the disease. I’m already hearing that this could have an impact on internationally important scientific programs such as those run from the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre based in the city, as well as many university projects currently focused on international development.”