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Snowball effect

Prospect of strikes at UKRI highlights challenges facing the funder

In many ways, it’s like the start of 2022 over again: the UK research sector is anxiously waiting on news of Horizon Europe membership, UK-based winners of EU grants are choosing to leave the country (see cover), and the University and College Union is gearing up for strikes. But this year, there is an added layer to the turmoil: the prospect of walkouts at UK Research and Innovation.

As we report on P6, staff at UKRI are likely to be balloted on industrial action by the Prospect union later this month, as part of its battle to secure pay rises for public sector workers amid the cost of living crisis. The mood of staff at the funder is as stormy as those in many other organisations and matches the inclement weather around much of the country. As one told Research Fortnight: “Over the last decade, our pay has significantly declined in real terms. We struggle to recruit and retain technical staff, leaving those remaining trying to do even more.”

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