LETTER : UK research in danger

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Sir: The crisis in Britain's universities has much more severe effects than Judith Judd's report "Cash shortages threaten status of universities" (15 April) suggests.

The National Academics Policy Advisory Group's report on the research capacity of the university system is unequivocal: public funding of university research in Britain is not internationally competitive and is inadequate to meet the demands made upon it.

British government support for academic research is about half that in countries like Germany, France, Holland, the US, and 25 per cent behind Italy (in terms of spending per capita). The inevitable consequence, say the academics, is a severe reduction in university research - to ensure that what remains is properly funded to maintain high quality and support acceptable career conditions for researchers.

Contraction and further narrowing of the research base spells withdrawal from contributions to the advance of knowledge, and decline in the national capacity to create wealth and to ensure quality of life in the future.

Dr John Mulvey

Executive Secretary

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