The Higher Education and Research Bill, which proposes the most significant changes to the regulation and infrastructure of higher education and research in over 20 years, is nearing the end of its passage through the House of Lords.
Our chief executive, Dr Robert Parker, said: "We welcome several government amendments to the bill, which were upheld in the House of Lords this week, as they address key themes on which we and sister organisations have lobbied MPs and peers.
"These amendments ensure UKRI is in a position to support fundamental, curiosity-driven research as well as applied and strategic research. A full spectrum of research types is essential in developing new ideas and technologies to drive economic growth across the UK. The amendments also provide additional safeguards on the remits and activities of the Research Councils by requiring consultation before they are changed.
"Strong connections between research and teaching are vital in chemistry: each informs the other in the classroom and the lab. With responsibility for research and teaching now split across two government departments, amendments that strengthen the required collaboration between the Office for Students and UK Research and Innovation are positive.
"Highly skilled STEM graduates are key to our economy. Chemistry degrees equip students with technical skills as well as problem-solving, project and team working skills, but providing students with high-quality laboratory experience costs money. We are pleased to see government amendments that allow HEFCE to continue providing vital additional capped funding that supports strategically important subjects like chemistry."
After its third reading in the House of Lords on 22 March, the Bill will return to the House of Commons for consideration.
Keep an eye on Chemistry World for an explainer on what the new legislation means for you.