Tuesday 21 July 2020

UK Government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic

At this uncertain time, many learned societies and publishers are understandably concerned about the future and how to manage the inevitable impact on their financial position.  It is being reported widely that university budgets are being adversely affected which would have an inevitable impact on their ability to spend on resources.

Therefore, in the UK, it is worth noting that a financial support package was announced recently for the higher education and research sector.  Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced the package which has two main features:

  • The government will cover up to 80% of the value of the missing income from International student fees this year that would otherwise be spent on research; and 
  • A combination of new and redistributed money worth up to £280m will be made available to support UK universities.  This includes funded extensions to UKRI-funded projects.

Although the amounts cannot and do not amount to a full “bailout” if the worst-case scenario for international recruitment happens this year, it does signal the importance of research to the agenda of the UK Government and a sign that it recognises the difficulties that universities are likely to find themselves in this autumn. 

Hopefully more assistance and guidance will follow and it is certainly worth keeping an eye on the Government’s designated website at Other initiatives are being introduced in other countries too which are also worth exploring.

Sarah Fricker, IOP Publishing (Chair of ALPSP Copyright Committee)


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