Support our Nation today - please donate here

Universities in Wales facing research ‘cliff edge’ due to the loss of EU funding

07 Feb 2023 3 minute read
Cardiff University. Picture by Stan Zurek. Bangor University. Picture: Denis Egan. Swansea University picture by SwanseaUni. (CC BY-SA 4.0) Aberystwyth University picture by Tanya Dedyukhina (CC BY 3.0).

Universities in Wales have warned MPs that many important research, innovation and skills projects are facing an ‘urgent cliff edge’ due to the loss of EU structural funding.

Between 2014 and 2020, and the subsequent tail off years, around £370m was invested in university-related projects in Wales through ERDF and ESF funds.

There are 60 projects remaining which are due to come to an end this year, putting approximately 1,000 jobs at risk

Bridging funding of approximately £71m would enable ESIF funded projects in Wales to continue for a further 12 months

Universities in Wales contribute £5 billion of output to the Welsh economy and generate over 1 in every 20 jobs in Wales.

‘World leading’

A 2021 assessment of UK universities’ research impact found that more than 89% of that submitted in Wales was “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, delivering tangible benefits to communities in Wales, the UK and across the world.

Speaking today at an event in Westminster, Professor Paul Boyle, Chair of the Universities Wales Research and Innovation Network, and Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, told an audience of cross-party MPs that, without urgent bridging funding, the withdrawal of EU Structural Funds means that decisions have to be taken which will lead to the loss of the talent and infrastructure needed to support regional development in Wales.

“Universities play a crucial role in innovation, which in turn leads to the creation of new businesses, new jobs, and improving wages. This is one of the key economic benefits that our universities deliver for the nation, generating over £5 billion of output for the Welsh economy annually.” said Professor Boyle.

“In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, we risk failing to exploit one of this country’s most enduring and internationally recognised strengths” he warned.

“Stepping back from the cliff edge would save hundreds of jobs, support a range of cutting-edge innovation projects that are driving economic growth, and provide direct investment in areas that the UK government has stated are at the heart of its own levelling up ambitions,” he added.

Vital role

Geraint Davies MP, who sponsored the event, said: “Our universities play a vital role as economic engines across Wales, bringing jobs and investment to their local areas.

!These projects are important to our UK ambition to crank up sustainable economic growth, so their sudden loss would be a big blow to our communities our economy and all our longer-term interests.

“That’s why providing immediate bridging funding of just £71 million is of such importance.

“I will continue to work with our higher education sector and other MPs calling on the UK government to safeguard these projects and jobs to enable our universities to continue to deliver for the people and places of Wales.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ursula Waldinger
Ursula Waldinger
1 year ago

I would find it very nice if the funding could be continued. I did all my further education und University Diplomes in Wales and I am not finished yet I want to lern French in Wales Universities. They have French nativs in their Universities and they speak french and Welsh. Would be a pitty if we did not have that good service any more being offert to Europeans.

1 year ago

Which will lead to even more Brain drain from Wales in the future. Exactly what England want. This has been Wales’ downfall since the days of Inigo Jones and John Nash.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.