Brexit – Track impact on UK universities, EU funding and international collaboration June 23rd, 2016, by Sadia Shahid
28 June Update: Since our post, majority of the people have voted to leave the UK, making Brexit a reality and monitoring its impact on UK research a critical need. WIRED magazine (coverage here) and Fast Company News (coverage here) reported on our analysis, and people from 1300+ cities in 100+ countries around the world used our dashboard, which is updated live to track the impact of Brexit on UK research, including the 128 universities that are funded by EU. Follow @wizdomai to stay updated.
In our previous blog post today, we announced wizdom.ai, the world’s largest research knowledge graph powered by artificial intelligence which helps to answer the most fundamental questions for researchers, research institutions, publishers, funding organisations, businesses and governments. As an early preview of the endless possibilities enabled by wizdom.ai, we are launching a dashboard that will be continuously updated and will serve as a public resource for future tracking of research as UK decides today in a landmark referendum, whether to remain in or leave the European Union.
Britain’s role in global research is key and irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, it is critical that research in the UK is not adversely affected. Looking beyond the referendum, the question of how to keep UK competitive in terms of its research output is particularly pressing as the UK already experiences a decline in its publication output since 2012.
This dashboard will serve as a real-time research tracker for the researchers and institutions funded by EU grants, for institutions to evaluate their competitiveness, for every country recipient of EU funding to analyse its participation, and for policy-makers to monitor the situation while it unfolds. More importantly it is a resource for tax-payers, who eventually fund public research.
Using billions from data points from wizdom.ai, the world’s most comprehensive and continuously updating research knowledge graph powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, our team analysed more than 150 terabytes of data, 78 million publications, 50 million authors, 60,000 journals, 50,000 institutions, and $700 billion in tracked research funding to build the most detailed picture about global research. We then used a small part of this graph to specifically explore the research relationship between EU and the UK in a live interactive dashboard that presents critical insights about EU’s research funding and its detailed allocation, UK’s research output and international collaboration. View the interactive visualisations presenting our findings in this dashboard.
From our analysis of 78 millions publication from 235 countries, a key observation is the decrease in UK’s annual publication output since 2012 which presents a concern for policy makers. In addition, both international and EU collaboration with UK authors had also been on gradual rise until 2011, when the research publications by UK authors in total slowed down and gradually started to decrease. Overall, UK researchers have been increasingly publishing with EU authors, with about 24% of UK publications in 2015 having an EU co-author. When we look at the total number of publications by UK authors that are co-authored with an international researcher, 46% of them are with a researcher from the EU.
Looking at the analytics as of today, there is no doubt that United Kingdom is a leading recipient of research funding from the European Union FP7 (2007-2013) and Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) programmes. In the total research grants by the EU since 2007 to date, Germany has bagged the lion’s share of 17.5% worth £7 Bn, followed closely by the UK with 16.7% that amounts to £6.7 Bn. Most of these EU grants to the UK were in partnership with international collaborators that were led by EU countries such as Germany (13.6%), France (9.3%), Netherlands (9.0%), Italy (8.9%) and Spain (8.5%).
Within the UK, the distribution of research grants from the EU has been fairly concentrated towards research institutions in England, whose 100 research institutions have received about £3.8 Bn since 2007. Following England are Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the order of EU funding received. Out of UK cities, London takes a significant 22.6% share of all EU research grants which in amount is nearly equal to Denmark’s EU funding in the same period.
Among the UK research institutions that we analysed, 128 received nearly 68% of the total EU funding to the UK. Universities of Oxford and Cambridge receive the highest EU research funding, summing to more than £800 million among them since 2007. If we sum the EU funding received since 2007 by the top 4 UK universities i.e. Oxford, Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College London, the amount (£1.45 Bn) exceeds what Austria, which ranks 10th among the EU funded countries, received in the same period (£1.12 Bn).
Many non-EU countries also receive research funding from the European Union. An interesting case to study is that of Switzerland that is neither part of the EU nor EEA, and has received £1.69 Bn in research funding from EU since 2007, ranking 8th among all EU funded countries. Similarly, Norway which is not part of the EU but is member of the EEA, received £743 million in EU research funding since 2007 and ranked 14th.
Though there is much doubt regarding how the referendum could shape the course of future research in the UK and the EU, at colwiz we believe that collaborative research and scientific progress should progress globally irrespective of the outcome. In the coming days and years following the referendum, this live dashboard will monitor how research in Britain changes with time to help tax-payers, researchers, institutions and policy makers stay informed. Our objective is to provide insights to help in decision-making with the aim of accelerating global research.
This dashboard is a small segment of the much more extensive wizdom.ai, which will soon be launched to public. Prior to our launch, we will be giving an early preview of wizdom.ai to a limited numbers of researchers, research groups, universities, organisations, funding bodies, publishers and government agencies. Individuals can sign up for an early preview on wizdom.ai to get an insight into our latest developments. If you are an organisation, reach out to