HEFCE and JISC Funding for 2010 and beyond

The Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) is one of the major public funders of teaching and research in UK Universities. It is also the major funder of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) providing around 75% of the recurrent core budget and the majority of its capital funding. So its announcements on funding are hugely important for the UK university sector.

HEFCE have recently released Circular letter number 02/2010 Funding for universities and colleges in 2010-11 setting out the implications of government cuts to its budget from August 2010.

The majority of press coverage following the release of the circular, has focussed on the implications for teaching and the reduction to the number of funded student places for the next academic year.

However the circular also sets out a number of key decisions and cuts in other areas of HEFCE support namely:

“£294 million in special funding for national programmes and initiatives, such as the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the development fund for employer engagement. This compares with £316 million in 2009-10.” [approximately 7.5% reduction]

And under Capital funding it notes:

“reprioritising and rephasing of the funding for JISC, including the open and educational resource programme, will release a further £27 million”

Note “The decisions taken by the Board do not take account of the £600 million reduction in the higher education and science and research budgets by 2012-13 announced in the pre-Budget report on 9 December 2009”.

The JISC annual budget is around £82 million recurrent core and £33 million capital.

JISC is hugely influential in many areas of UK HE and FE including open access, digital preservation, e-learning and digital libraries amongst others. Any reduction to its core funding and capital programmes will be significant for many in the sector and beyond.  In January, JISC postponed all current capital funded calls and invitations to tender (ITTs), pending the HEFCE board decision.

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