Each of the Research Councils is established under the Science and Technology
Act 1965, as a body incorporated by
Royal Charter. The Royal Charter is the legal document which sets out the role
and mission of each Council.
For Government accounting purposes, the Research Council's are classified as Non-Departmental
Public Bodies. NDPBs are organisations which have a role in the processes of national
government, but they are not part of a government department and are governed by
legislation which enables them to operate to a greater or lesser extent at arm’s
length from Ministers. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has statutory
control of the Councils, supported by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation
Each Research Council has a governing body called its "Council".
The Council body is responsible for setting each Research Councils’ policy, strategy
and priorities. It is also accountable for the stewardship of the Council’s budget
and the extent to which objectives have been delivered and targets have been met.
Council members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation
and Skills, who is answerable to Parliament for the Councils’ activities.
The full time
Chief Executive is the Councils’ most senior officer. They are appointed to
provide leadership both in relation to scientific research and in the direction
and management of the Council.
Each Research Council has its own structure of high-level of advisory boards
and groups to identify opportunities for research, training and knowledge transfer
and to provide external advice on the development of strategies and policies. General
information on the organisation of each Council and how it operates can be viewed
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Each Council body typically has between 15 and 18 members drawn from the Council’s
academic, business and user communities. Membership is balanced to provide expertise
across a range of research disciplines and commercial and user interests. A register
of declared interests is maintained.
Appointments to the Research Councils are made by Secretary of State for Business,
Innovation and Skills in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’
“Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies”. This can be found
Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments website.
Annual Report and Accounts
The Research Councils each publish an Annual Report which provides information on each Research Council's activities during the previous financial year.
As charged under the Science and Technology Act 1965, each Annual Report is published and laid before Parliament annually.
Please follow the links below to each of the Research Council's Annual Report and Accounts.