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About the Research Councils

The primary role of Research Councils UK (RCUK) is to fund research.

We invest public money to universities research organisations and facilities to train researchers or carry out independent research.

The research we fund will advance knowledge and generate new ideas which lead to a productive economy, healthy society and contribute to a sustainable world.

You can find details on all the research projects supported by the Research Councils through our Gateway to Research.

Together the Research Councils funds research and training activities which cover the full spectrum of academic disciplines from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, and the arts and humanities.

The Research Councils support research through three principal mechanisms:

  • By providing project or programme funding to higher education institutions, as part of the dual support system.
  • By funding research in their own research facilities. The status of these facilities varies – some are located in universities, some are wholly owned and administered, while others are more independent, "sponsored" institutes;
  • By providing access to large facilities for UK researchers. This can be through international subscriptions or the funding of national facilities.

The RCUK delivery plan sets out the Councils’ priorities for joint working. Each year the Research Councils invest around £3 billion in research, the Councils receive funding from the Government's Science Budget. The Science Budget is administered through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Research Funding across UK regions and devolved administrations can be found here.


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