The European Union has awarded the University of East Anglia £13 million to conduct research since 2009, according to information obtained by Concrete under the Freedom of Information Act. The money the university receives from the EU now is very close to double the £2,440,082 received by UEA in 2009/10. Programmes under the Commission of European Communities and the European Regional Development Fund provide the vast majority of the funding awarded.
While programmes in the department of Environmental Sciences make up the majority of the 140 projects supported by EU since 2009, other departments such as the Norwich Business School and Medicine have received funding. The EURRECA project in the department of Medicine, which has received over half a million pounds over the last four years, explored the process of setting micronutrient recommendations to address the variance in recommendations across Europe. Findings made by the project spearheaded by UEA staff are now adhered to by agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organisation.
The lead academic on the project, Professor Susan Fairweather-Tait, said: “the EURRECA project has produced a number of useful outputs for research scientists and health professionals working in the field of micronutrients and also global agencies involved in nutrition policy and programmes.
“EU funding makes a substantial contribution towards nutrition and health research on the Norwich Research Park, including projects undertaken by members of the Norwich Medical School”, she added.
Dr Anne Haour of Art History and World Art Studies regards financial support from the EU as fundamental to her department. Over £250,000 in EU support for a project called “Crossroads” has meant that the first chronological and material culture sequences of the second millennium in an area in the Niger River Valley has been produced. Archaeological work investigating how historically attested polities in West Africa influenced settlement and material culture unearthed over 1000 previously unknown sites.
Already this year UEA has received £2 million from the European Research Council to fund a five-year project that will predict how the Artic will cope with global warming. Under this research initiative EU money will help construct a sea ice chamber, with state-of-the-art computer models, to reproduce the chemical exchanges between the ocean, sea ice, snow and the atmosphere in the Polar Regions.
The EU also funds UEA’s Erasmus scheme through which both students and staff can gain experience of studying abroad. The current scheme is to be widened out so that students and post-doctoral staff can work in Europe as well as study. Lecturers from the EU are also allowed to work at UEA whereby they share their ideas and collaborate on work with other UEA academics due to the freedom of movement enjoyed by citizens of countries within the EU.
From later this year the UEA will be able to submit proposals to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to receive money allocated to that organisation by the EU.
Helen Lewis, Director of Research and Enterprise Services at UEA, says funding awards from the EU raise the international profile of UEA. According to Ms Lewis it allows UEA to undertake work that the University would not otherwise be able to do.