An extra £91 million has been added to the 2019–2020 research funding pot for universities in England, bringing the total to a record £2.2 billion.

The increase was announced by Research England as part of its annual budget allocations. The UK government says the move reflects the key role of research in its Industrial Strategy, and is a step towards achieving its target of spending 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027.

The extra £91 million includes a £45 million increase in quality-related research (QR) funding, block grants that are given to universities rather than those awarded for specific projects.

Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said these additional funds will enable universities to invest more in the people, partnerships and infrastructure needed to deliver research. ‘This announcement marks an important recognition of university research and the need to invest more in flexible, curiosity-driven research that has tremendous benefits to developing our international standing as a research powerhouse,’ he said in a statement.