Limiting Markets

Generally, there do not appear to be any artificial restrictions in place as regards the amount of research, although some interviewees mentioned natural limitations (a member of staff can only commit to a maximum of 100 % fte and schools equally need to assure the necessary teaching capacity). However, thresholds where this would cause concerns are not normally reached and, instead, an increase in externally funded research projects is generally attempted. However, the interviewees in two universities mentioned the importance of the public benefit test in this respect. Research which passed the test could be conducted without restrictions. Research which did not pass could still go ahead, but this had to be accounted for separately. One interviewee stated that only 10 % of such research could go through the university books. The interviewees from the other university explained that such research could not be classified as research income. The interviewees from both universities explained that such research could instead go through the universities’ trading companies. However, they all also mentioned that such research was very rare since the academics would not be interested in doing research which had no academic or broader interest. Additionally, as this would be a purely commercial transaction, they would also not be able to use any of the results thus reducing the output of high quality publications, in turn causing constraints regarding the Research Excellence Framework (REF).[1] None of this appears to be an artificial limitation on outputs which could be regarded as limiting markets from a competition law perspective.

  • [1] On the REF see Chap. 4 Sect. 4.2.2.2 “Public Generic Funding”.
 
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