Research funding in the United Kingdom


Research funding in the United Kingdom is divided mainly among two groups of Non-Departmental Government Bodies, the 'UK Research Councils' and 'Higher Education Funding Bodies'.[1] Both the UK Research Councils and the Higher Education Funding Bodies budgets were set by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills prior to 2016, at which point Department was succeeded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.[2][3] UK research funding follows the government policy, the 'Haldane principle', this means research is evaluated by scientists themselves through peer review, not politicians.[4]

UK Research Councils


There are seven Research Councils in the UK (see table below), each is an individual Non-Departmental Government Body. Each council receives funding from the Government's Science Budget (administered through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) to fund research in a different area of research with a view to improving the UK economy, society and creating a sustainable world.[1] Some Research Councils also receive income from other Government Departments, commercialisation of research and other research funders.[5]

The term "UK Research Councils" refers to the councils collectively, for the official partnership between the councils see Research Councils UK.[2]

Research Council Website
Arts and Humanities Research Council AHRC Website
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council BBSRC website
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council EPSRC website
Economic and Social Research Council ESRC website
Medical Research Council MRC website
Natural Environment Research Council NERC website
Science and Technology Facilities Council STFC website

Higher Education Funding Bodies (UK Funding Councils)


The four Higher Education Funding Bodies, also referred to as "Funding Councils"[5] (listed below) provide "block grant funding" to support research infrastructure and enable institutions to undertake ground-breaking research.[3]

Funding body Website
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) HEFCE Website
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) HEFCW website
Scottish Funding Council (SFC) SFC website
Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DELNI) DELNI website

Dual Research Funding Support System


The Research Councils and the Higher Education Funding Bodies make up a dual support system. Research Councils provide grants for specific projects and programmes, while the Higher Education Funding Bodies provide block grant funding to support the research infrastructure and enable institutions research of their choosing. Such funding also provides the capacity to undertake research commissioned by the private sector, Government Departments, charities, the European Union and other international bodies.[5]

Government funding


The Government's research budget allocations for the financial year 15/16 are outlined below.[6]

OrganisationResource Allocation (RDEL) in £MCapital Allocation (CDEL)in £M
Arts and Humanities Research Council98.30
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council351.271
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council778.580
Economic and Social Research Council153.225
Medical Research Council580.336
Natural Environment Research Council28935
Science and Technology Facilities Council400129.1
Higher Education Funding Council for England1573.3N/A
Contribution towards Higher Education Innovation Funding113N/A
Research Capital EnglandN/A117.3
HEI research capital EnglandN/A86.2
HEI Research Capital (Scotland)N/A16.1
HEI Research Capital (Wales)N/A3.7
HEI Research Capital (NI)N/A1.7
RIPF (UK)N/A100

See also


References


  1. Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK). "About the individual Research Councils", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.
  2. Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK). "About the RCUK partnership", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.
  3. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). "Policy: Research and development, subsection: Science and research funding", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.
  4. Daily Hansard - Written Ministerial Statements. "Science and Research Funding (2011-12 to 2014-15)", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.
  5. Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK). "Government funding", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.
  6. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). "Science and research budget allocations for financial year 15/16", Retrieved on 5 April 2015.