The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today raised their concerns for the future of Welsh Universities stating that there is a real risk that the new Shared Prosperity Fund will duplicate functions and funding and result in competing priorities.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS in the Senedd.
EU regional development funding was particularly important for Welsh universities, who received roughly £570 million from European structural funds since 2000.
Aberystwyth University secured more than £40m of EU funds between 2014 and 2020 that supported the development of its new Innovation and Enterprise Campus, a state-of-the-art veterinary hub, and a range of R&D and skills projects among other things.
University of Wales Trinity Saint David received £350,000 in 2020 to develop the Food Cloud which brings together the latest evidence on food, public health, food security and agriculture policy.
In addition to the risk that the new Shared Prosperity Fund will duplicate functions and funding, the European Union (EU) has announced that it is holding back funding to British scientists from its flagship Horizon research and innovation program until the UK Government resolves the spat over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“People have been repeatedly told, since the 2016 referendum, that we would not be a penny worse off when we left the EU.
“But there is now a real risk that the Shared Prosperity Fund will duplicate functions and funding and result in competing priorities.
“At a time when universities are missing out on some £420m in research and development funding Wales risks falling further behind other parts of the UK and we can’t allow the political posturing of the Conservatives in Westminster to undermine Welsh universities.”