Various organisational units at the UvA, as well as the university as a whole, are being adversely impacted by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, driving up costs and driving down revenues. Because of these effects, the UvA is budgeting for a one-off deficit in 2021. Some room has been created in various parts of the budget to make it possible to respond strategically in the current uncertainty, with a positive effect on the UvA’s medium-term to long-term ambitions. This is laid down in the 2021 draft budget adopted by the Executive Board on 29 September.
In addition to the UvA budget and the draft budget for the units, the draft budget also includes other information, including the updated Accommodations Plan and the outlines of the ICT Project Portfolio. Consequently, it provides insights into the ways in which all the plans and ambitions dovetail with the financial frameworks set out in the 2021 framework letter.
The UvA is anticipating a 4% increase in revenues compared to the 2020 budget, due in particular to a higher expected government grant. Opportunities for an increase in other flows of funds have diminished compared to previous years, due in particular to risks associated with the coronavirus. These revenues are therefore expected to remain at the same level over the next few years. The budgeted increase in costs of approximately 5% is mainly the result of higher staffing costs (due to the new collective labour agreement and in terms of volume). The difference in development between costs and revenues is down to the additional costs budgeted for 2021 for the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
In advance of the new Strategic Plan (SP), the framework letter specified a number of investments intended to drive the achievement of the objectives in the SP. The expected positive operational results will create scope to actually make these investments. That said, the room in the budget for 2021 will be limited due to the financial effects of the coronavirus. There will be uncertainty in the medium term as well, nevertheless the current budget will allow some room for investments.
The decision-making process with regard to the SP has yet to be finalised. In order to be able to get started on the investments outlined in the SP, financial resources are available in the budget from 2021 onwards. Additionally, there will be an increase in financial room from 2022, which will also create more scope for investments in SP objectives.
Part of the financial resources for investments in SP for 2021 are to be used to support applications from the growth fund (Nationaal Groeifonds). Two of the three objectives of the fund (knowledge development and research, development and innovation) are either part of or an extension of the UvA’s core tasks. Moreover, the growth fund’s ambitions dovetail neatly with the Strategic Plan’s ambitions (or part thereof). Consequently, the growth fund provides many scholars and institutes as well as their external partners with ample opportunities to achieve their ambitions and obtain more funding for teaching, research and valorisation.
You too can contribute your thoughts and join the discussion on the draft budget. The Executive Board welcomes responses to the 2021 draft budget from both staff and students. Please feel free to submit questions and comments by sending an email (email@example.com). The feedback period will run until 20 October 2020.
Questions and comments submitted by staff and students will be forwarded to the Central Works Council and the Central Student Council. Once the feedback period is over, the feedback will be compiled, commented on and submitted to the representative advisory bodies. The approval period and the consultation period for the central representative advisory bodies will run until 23 November 2020. The consultation period for the decentralised representative advisory bodies will run until 9 November 2020.
Upon approval of the main outline of the budget by the central representative advisory bodies, the final 2021 budget will be drawn up in December this year. If all goes according to plan, the Supervisory Board will approve the budget at its meeting on 18 December 2020. The final budget will be published on the UvA website.