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Regional Rise

Regional universities in the UK are to receive funding increases following improvements in research quality, the Financial Times reports.

It adds that the Research Excellence Framework released its analysis of UK research quality this week, an assessment it conducts every seven years. The group found that 41 percent of research output in the UK was "world-leading" and 43 percent was "internationally excellent." In 2016, Times Higher Education notes, 30 percent of research output was world-leading and 46 percent was internationally excellent.

As the Guardian notes, these ratings are then used to distribute £2 billion (US $2.4 billion) in annual government funding. While Oxford University and University College London are likely to receive a high portion of those funds, it adds that Oxford's share may decline from 6.24 percent to 5.7 percent.

Meanwhile, as FT reports, universities like Northumbria, Hull, Birmingham, and Leicester have risen in the rankings — Birmingham jumped from 31st place to 13th, according to THE — which experts tell it suggests that regional universities can compete with Oxford, Cambridge, and London-based universities.

"It is our hope now that this positive change will also be reflected in a more equitable distribution of funding for UK research," Rachel Hewitt, chief executive of Million Plus, a group representing newer universities, tells FT.

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