There is a myth going round that science and engineering are having an easy ride, with both teaching and research escaping the new climate of austerity. After all, unlike in the arts and humanities, science and engineering undergraduate degrees will still be part-funded by HEFCE rather than relying solely on student fees – and the science research budget was frozen during last year’s spending review rather than being hit with cuts. So what’s to worry about?
In reality, HEFCE teaching grants took a hit across all disciplines. The only reason science subjects still get anything at all is because they cost more to teach, and were therefore getting more from HEFCE to begin with; think of the cost of a physics laboratory compared to a philosophy library.