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Cards on the table

As the academic year starts, government must show its hand on R&D

A pensions furore, another blow for aid research funding, and concern that the government might row back on its promises on R&D—already the 2021-22 academic year is looking somewhat familiar. And in all these areas, the sense has been mounting that something must give.

As far as pensions are concerned, one thing already has. The trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme has agreed to take forward controversial changes proposed by employers to resolve a long-running impasse over affordability of the UK’s biggest pension scheme. But the renewed appetite of the University and College Union to strike over the changes is not a start to the year that many university leaders will welcome, not least given the spectre of students pushing for fee refunds.

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