The open letter – due to be sent to foreign secretary Dominic Raab and chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday 18 March – warns the cuts are “an action from which it will be hard to recover. We call for an immediate reversal of this decision, maintaining this opportunity for the UK to sustain its profile in leading research to tackle global challenges.”
The deep cuts to universities’ global research budgets could have serious repercussions for academics in Britain, especially precarious early career researchers.
The letter warns that there is a “generation of new global researchers and practitioners who are facing the prospect of the abrupt termination of contracts, and cessation of research, before they are able to produce the outputs essential to the development of their careers, jeopardising jobs both in the UK and abroad, at a time of national and international crisis.”
The cuts to global research are part of wider cuts to Britain’s overseas aid budget.
The government has said that it is cutting international aid by £4bn in response to the economic impact of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, openDemocracy revealed that senior civil servants are considering cuts as high as 90% to some conflict zones.
A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson previously said, “The UK remains a world-leading aid donor. We will spend more than £10bn this year to address poverty, tackle climate change, fight COVID and improve global health. We are working with our delivery partners, including UKRI, to implement the new settlement for 2021/22 and protect the most effective research programmes.”Print