The University of Exeter has doubled the amount of research funding it receives from Research Councils UK (RCUK). During the academic year of 2015/16, the University received £29 million – a figure completely surpassing the previous year’s amount of £13 million. Due to this, Exeter has moved up the league tables of the RCUK by eight places; from 23rd to 15th. As stated by Dr Astrid Wissenburg, “This is a really great recognition of the breadth of expertise at Exeter” and is reflective of the “high standard of research being conducted” at the University.
Our beloved university is one of the luckier institutions however. During 2015/16, the RCUK had £1.1 billion to distribute to UK universities yet only one year previously it had £1.3 billion in its hands. This is due to a dip in grant funding from the government. Most universities that benefitted from a high grant income suffered a reduction in the amount they received, some by up to 40 per cent.
At a time when the future is looking increasingly unstable, research is becoming more and more important, especially in the STEM-M sectors (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). Exeter is thriving in these fields, hence the increased funding. It’s unsurprising then that the University ranks first nationally for the number of awards achieved from the Natural Environment Research Council, this alongside being ranked in the top ten of four other Research Councils. Additionally, the opening of the Living Systems Institute and extensive medical research have allowed the institution to move into the top twenty for the Medical Research Council.
The Living Systems Institute intends to pioneer unique approaches to understanding diseases and their diagnosis allowing the provision of information on effective treatments. These will vary from treating chronic neurodegenerative disorders to animal and plant diseases, which threaten food security.