From which government, NGO or Private companies do universities receive funding’ for research?

Santino Pani made this Freedom of Information request to Goldsmiths, University of London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Goldsmiths, University of London,

I am writing you for a Request of information, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) on the following topics: “From which government authorities, NGO or Private companies do universities receive funding’ for research?”, a research based on information of public interest, for journalism purposes.
Can you provide information to the following questions?
1) What is the total amount that the university received in funds for research, industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from government, NGO or private companies in the last five financial years (from 2013 till 2017)? The information should be broken down by organization or company name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), in a CSV format, if possible.
2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in. If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), provided in a CSV format, if possible.
3) Can you provide details of research projects (such as executive summary and details of reports’ publication, university department and researchers’ names) of projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same period of time (2013-2017)?

Yours faithfully,

Santino Pani

Goldsmiths Information Access, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Santino Pani,

I am writing to formally acknowledge your Freedom of Information (FOI)
request received on 01 February 2018.

We will respond promptly but in any event by 01 March 2018, this being 20
working days following the receipt of your request and is in accordance
with the time limit set out in the FOI Act.

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance

Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross,
London, SE14 6AF

www.gold.ac.uk

Goldsmiths Information Access, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Santino Pani

 

I am writing in response to your Freedom of Information request received
on 01 Feb 2018. You asked:

 

1) What is the total amount that the university received in funds for
research, industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from
government, NGO or private companies in the last five financial years
(from 2013 till 2017)? The information should be broken down by
organization or company name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,
2017), in a CSV format, if possible.

2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in.
If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and
corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by
year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017),
provided in a CSV format, if possible.

3) Can you provide details of research projects (such as executive summary
and details of reports’ publication, university department and
researchers’ names) of projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same
period of time (2013-2017)?

 

I need to advise you that Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA) states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit. As a
non-central government department, our appropriate limit is 18 hours to
determine whether we hold the information you request, locate, retrieve
and extract it.

 

To provide you with the information you have requested in Q1 we would need
to examine the individual files that we hold for research applications. We
have estimated that we currently hold in excess of 400 records in paper
files and in excess of 100 records in an electronic form in relation to
the time period you have specified.

 

We have assumed that it would take on average a minimum of 5 minutes per
file to determine whether we hold the information you request, locate,
retrieve and extract it. Based on these assumptions we have calculated
that it would take a minimum of 41.7 hours to fulfil the processing of
your request in respect of question 1. As this estimate exceeds the limit
of 18 hours we are not obliged to comply; therefore, your request will not
be processed further.

 

Section 16 of the Act states:

16.—(1) It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and
assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do
so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information
to it.

 

Therefore, I need to indicate to you that if you were to refine your
request to within the following criteria: “A breakdown of research grants
and contracts income by funder category for the last three years”. We
would be able to provide this information to you within the cost limit.

 

Furthermore, in order to be helpful to you I would like to direct you to
the following publications and websites which will enable you to obtain
further information relating to your request which is publicly available.

 

Q1          Information regarding funds for research:

[1]https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ...

[2]https://www.hesa.ac.uk/

 

Q2          Information regarding university investments:

[3]https://www.ccla.co.uk/client-tools.

 

Q3          Information regarding research projects:

[4]http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/funding/eligibilit...

[5]http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/

[6]http://research.gold.ac.uk/openaccess.html

 

I hope this information satisfies your Freedom of Information request.
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask for it to
be reviewed by either contacting us by email: [7][Goldsmiths, University of London request email] or by
writing to:

 

Information Governance Manager

Room M1, DTH Building

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross, London, SE14 6AF

 

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for
dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence.

 

If you are still not satisfied following the internal review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at
the following address.

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[8]www.ico.gov.uk

 

With regards,

Julian Spain

Interim FOI Manager

Goldsmiths, University of London

 

show quoted sections

Dear Goldsmiths Information Access,

Thank you for your response. However, I am not satisfied by it, as I don’t believe that you need 40 hours to find the data I requested on just one of the questions. Your University has an electronic database; we live in the Internet era, not in middle age, and you just need to find the data on a pc. I don’t have to teach you how to work, and you can’t treat people as stupid.
What you need to provide is a raw spreadsheet file, or series of files, not searching the data’s copying them by hand from a paper archive (and even it was so, scanning a 300 pages document it takes me half hour max, not 40). You mentioned that you hold 400 files, and you should take not more than 10mins to find the relevant ones.
Further, you advised me to consult your financial statements. Before I sent this request to your university, I already conducted a detailed research; I consulted already your financial reports and as I could suppose, the details I need are not provided on there. They just provide a summary of the funds your university receive. Neither from which organization or companies, nor the amount of funds are provided. Otherwise I didn’t need to make this FOI request.
I am conducting this research for journalism purposes, not for the sake of wasting time, or to make a university clerk its time. It is a serious research, and I need the details I requested also by your university. As you could had noticed, this request has been sent almost 50 more universities. If other universities are responding, and you are refusing it with the excuse of the time limit, it shows that your university is not complying with law obligations of transparency.

If you think that the time needed to conduct this research exceed the 18 hours, you can split it, answering to all the questions in 20 more days. You answered today, and the deadline to respond me should be on the 1st of March. Now I expect to receive a response with your data’s by the 1st of April.

If I don’t get a response to my request, I will ask for a review by your FOI Review team, and eventually I will write to the external commission to investigate it.

So please provide me these data, and let me know how you would split it; otherwise just pass this request to your FOI Review team.

Yours sincerely,

Santino Pani

Goldsmiths Information Access, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Santino Pani,

I am writing in reply to your email dated 22nd Feb 2018 in which you have asked:

“If you think that the time needed to conduct this research exceed the 18 hours, you can split it, answering to all the questions in 20 more days. You answered today, and the deadline to respond me should be on the 1st of March. Now I expect to receive a response with your data’s by the 1st of April.”

I have interpreted this as a proposal to the University to split your original request into multiple requests. I need to inform you that under Regulation 5(2) of the Fees Regulations public authorities can aggregate two or more separate requests if those requests meet the following conditions:
(a) the two or more requests relate, to any extent, to the same or similar information, and
(b) those requests are received within any period of sixty consecutive working days.
As splitting your request would meet these conditions we are unable to accept your proposal that we disaggregate your request.

I hope this clarifies our response to your Freedom of Information request. However, if you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask for it to be reviewed by either contacting us by email: [Goldsmiths, University of London request email] or by writing to:

Information Governance Manager
Room M1, DTH Building
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross, London, SE14 6AF

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence.

If you are still not satisfied following the internal review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at the following address.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
www.ico.gov.uk

With regards,
Julian Spain
Interim FOI Manager
Goldsmiths, University of London

show quoted sections

Dear Goldsmiths Information Access,

I am writing to the Information Commisoner's Office right now.

Regards,

Santino Pani

Matthew Brooks, Goldsmiths, University of London

5 Attachments

Dear Santino Pani,

 

Goldsmiths’ College has been asked by the Information Commissioner to
revisit the request for information you made on 1 February 2018. I have
undertaken this exercise and decided that you ought to be provided with
the information you requested, save where indicated below.

On 1 February 2018 you asked the following:

1) What is the total amount that the university received in funds for
research, industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from
government, NGO or private companies in the last five financial years
(from 2013 till 2017)? The information should be broken down by
organization or company name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,
2017), in a CSV format, if possible.

2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in.
If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and
corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by
year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017),
provided in a CSV format, if possible.

3) Can you provide details of research projects (such as executive summary
and details of reports’ publication, university department and
researchers’ names) of projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same
period of time (2013-2017)?

 

On 21 February 2018, your request was responded to by the College’s
Interim Freedom of Information Manager, Mr Jules Spain, as follows:

I need to advise you that Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA) states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit. As a
non-central government department, our appropriate limit is 18 hours to
determine whether we hold the information you request, locate, retrieve
and extract it.

To provide you with the information you have requested in Q1 we would need
to examine the individual files that we hold for research applications. We
have estimated that we currently hold in excess of 400 records in paper
files and in excess of 100 records in an electronic form in relation to
the time period you have specified.

We have assumed that it would take on average a minimum of 5 minutes per
file to determine whether we hold the information you request, locate,
retrieve and extract it. Based on these assumptions we have calculated
that it would take a minimum of 41.7 hours to fulfil the processing of
your request in respect of question 1. As this estimate exceeds the limit
of 18 hours we are not obliged to comply; therefore, your request will not
be processed further. 

Section 16 of the Act states:

16.—(1) It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and
assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do
so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information
to it.

Therefore, I need to indicate to you that if you were to refine your
request to within the following criteria:

 

“A breakdown of research grants and contracts income by funder category
for the last three years”

 

We would be able to provide this information to you within the cost limit.

 

Furthermore, in order to be helpful to you I would like to direct the
following publications and websites which will enable you to obtain
further information.

 

Q1   Information regarding funds for research:

[1]https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ...

[2]https://www.hesa.ac.uk/

 

Q2   Information regarding university investments:

[3]https://www.ccla.co.uk/client-tools.

 

Q3   Information regarding research projects:

[4]http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/funding/eligibilit...

[5]http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/

[6]http://research.gold.ac.uk/openaccess.html

I hope this information satisfies your Freedom of Information request.
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask for it to
be reviewed by either contacting us by email: [7][email address] or by
writing to:

Information Governance Manager

Room M1, DTH Building

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross, London, SE14 6AF

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for
dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence.

If you are still not satisfied following the internal review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at
the following address.

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 70

[8]www.ico.gov.uk

 

With regards,

Julian Spain

Interim FOI Manager

Goldsmiths, University of London

 

In an email of 22 February 2018, you set out your dissatisfaction with the
above response. You proposed that:

If you think that the time needed to conduct this research exceed the 18
hours, you can split it, answering to all the questions in 20 more days.
You answered today, and the deadline to respond me should be on the 1st of
March. Now I expect to receive a response with your data’s by the 1st of
April.

 

By return Mr Spain explained that:

 

I have interpreted this as a proposal to the University to split your
original request into multiple requests. I need to inform you that under
Regulation 5(2) of the Fees Regulations public authorities can aggregate
two or more separate requests if those requests meet the following
conditions: 
(a) the two or more requests relate, to any extent, to the same or similar
information, and 
(b) those requests are received within any period of sixty consecutive
working days. 
As splitting your request would meet these conditions we are unable to
accept your proposal that we disaggregate your request.

 

Mr Spain continued that, if you were not satisfied with this, you were
entitled to seek a review of the response.

 

You subsequently lodged a Complaint with the Information Commissioner.

 

As previously stated, at the invitation of the Information Commissioner I
have revisited your request and now provide information as follows:

 

1) What is the total amount that the university received in funds for
research, industrial consultancy fees and/or funded researches from
government, NGO or private companies in the last five financial years
(from 2013 till 2017)? The information should be broken down by
organization or company name, year per year (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,
2017), in a CSV format, if possible.

 

Research

 

The College has disclosed within its publically available audited
Financial Statements the income received as a result of research work
undertaken by Goldsmiths in each of the last five financial years. These
statements are available for consideration here:
[9]https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ....

 

Pursuant to the College’s statutory duty to advise and assist, I inform
you that the total income received between 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2017
(the last five reported financial years) was 73 million and one hundred
and eighty three pounds sterling (please see page 9 of the Financial
Statements 2016-17:
[10]https://www.gold.ac.uk/media/documents-b...).

 

The College is required to make returns relating to research income for
each financial year to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Attached
hereto are two tables setting out the returns made by Goldsmiths for the
past five financial years (attachment 1(A)). The first table records the
total income (in accordance with the definition given by the Higher
Education Statistics Agency) and the source of that income by way of
theme. The second table records the amount of income received from each of
the Research Councils as well as The Royal Society, British Academy and
The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 

The College holds records of the sources of its research income for the
past four financial years. Attachment 1(B) details the income broken down
by organisation or company name, year per year.

 

Industrial consultancy fees

I need to advise you that Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA) states that a public authority is not obliged to comply with a
request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of
complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit. As a
non-central government department, our appropriate limit is 18 hours to
determine whether we hold the information you request, locate, retrieve
and extract it.

You have asked to be provided with records of industrial consultancy fees
earned, broken down by organisation or company name. To do so would
require each consultancy contract held by the College to be reviewed. Over
the past five financial year there have been 202 such contracts. These
contracts are held within academic departments, of which there are 19.

We have assumed that it would take on average a minimum of 15 minutes per
contract to locate and retrieve it as well as extract the necessary
information from it. Based on these assumptions we have calculated that it
would take a minimum of 50.5 hours to fulfil the processing of your
request in respect of this aspect of question 1. As this estimate exceeds
the limit of 18 hours we are not obliged to comply; therefore, this aspect
of your request will not be processed further.

Pursuant to the College’s statutory duty to advise and assist, however, I
am able to inform you that the sum of industrial consultancy fees received
between 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2017 (the last five reported financial
years) was 2 million and five hundred and fifty five pounds sterling. This
figure is broken down financial year by financial year in attachment 1(C).

 

2) A portfolio statement for the funds the university has investments in.
If you do not have a copy of it, can you provide a list of funds and
corresponding management companies? Details should be broken down year by
year, for the last financial years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017),
provided in a CSV format, if possible.

 

The College has disclosed within its publically available audited
Financial Statements the level of investments it has had in the last five
financial years. These statements are available for consideration here:
[11]https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ....

The College’s investments are in funds managed by CCLA. The most recent
portfolio statement is attached hereto (attachment 2).

 

3) Can you provide details of research projects (such as executive summary
and details of reports’ publication, university department and
researchers’ names) of projects whose funds exceed £50,000, in the same
period of time (2013-2017)?

 

Attached hereto is a schedule of the research projects, undertaken between
2013-2017, whose funds exceed £50, 000 (attachment 3).

 

The aforementioned does not include researchers’ names, it being
considered that such information is exempted from disclosure, pursuant to
Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the information
constituting personal data other than your own and any legitimate interest
there may exist in its disclosure being outweighed by the unfairness of
doing so to the data subjects. I can confirm that Goldsmiths’ College
holds records of the researchers’ names.

 

The aforementioned also does not include executive summaries of research
projects nor details of where research projects have been published. To do
so would require the principal investigators for each project to be
contacted and asked to provide such information. We have assumed that it
would take on average a minimum of 15 minutes per project to locate,
retrieve and extract the necessary information. Based on these assumptions
we have calculated that it would take a minimum of 19 hours to fulfil the
processing of your request in respect of this aspect of question 3. As
this estimate exceeds the limit of 18 hours, pursuant to Section 12 of the
Freedom of Information Act 200, we are not obliged to comply; therefore,
this aspect of your request will not be processed further.

I hope this information satisfies your Freedom of Information request and,
on behalf of Goldsmiths' College, I convey apologies for it not having
been provided earlier. If you are dissatisfied with this response I have
given, you may ask for it to be reviewed by either contacting us by email:
[12][email address] or by writing to:

Information Governance Manager

Room M1, DTH Building

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross

London, SE14 6AF

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for
dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence.

If you are still not satisfied following the internal review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at
the following address:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 70

[13]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Brooks

Head of Governance and Legal Services

 

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

[14]www.gold.ac.uk

 

+44 (0)207 717 3313

[15][email address]

 

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References

Visible links
1. https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ...
2. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/
3. https://www.ccla.co.uk/client-tools
4. http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/funding/eligibilit...
5. http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/
6. http://research.gold.ac.uk/openaccess.html
7. mailto:[email address]
8. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
9. https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ...
10. https://www.gold.ac.uk/media/documents-b...
11. https://www.gold.ac.uk/governance/financ...
12. mailto:[email address]
13. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
14. http://www.gold.ac.uk/
15. mailto:[email address]