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RCUK Strategic Executive

The RCUK partnership is led by the Research Council chief executives, who collectively own, drive and monitor the strategic and operational activities that deliver the RCUK mission. The RCUK Strategic Executive provides the forum through which the individual Research Council chief executives work together.

The Chair of the RCUK Strategic Executive is selected from among serving Research Council Chief Executives; with the current chair being Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The RCUK Strategic Executive is responsible for:

  • Leading on the long term horizon scanning and strategic planning for the collective activities of the Research Councils.
  • Deciding, championing and communicating collective Science and Research Strategy for the Research Councils, taking advice from the RCUK Science and Research Strategy Advisory Board.
  • Directing and approving the work of the Operational Cost Reduction Programme (OCRP) Board to ensure collective efficiency savings and transformational change across the collective are delivered.
  • Directing and approving the work of the Operations Board, ensuring that scientific and operational strategies are aligned.
  • Approving annual and longer-term financial plans for the Research Councils’ collective activities, as developed by the Operations Board.
  • Ensuring the Research Councils engage effectively collectively, where there is value to doing so, with partners and stakeholders coordinating action where necessary.
  • Approving decisions made under delegated authority by the RCUK Operations Board on the initiation of major cross-Council programmes, projects or investments, approving the membership and terms of reference of programme and project boards, where these initiatives are within the scope of RCUK collective activity.

Senior figures from the Higher Education Funding Councils, other research funders and stakeholder organisations are regularly invited to participate in RCUK Strategic Executive discussions.

To enable RCUK to work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to discuss high-level strategic issues and provide advice to the Director General of Knowledge and Innovation, BEIS has established the Joint Strategy Group (JSG). This group is chaired by the Director General of Knowledge and Innovation and meets quarterly.

The RCUK Strategic Executive and JSG replace the original Research Councils UK Strategy Group (RCUKSG), which led RCUK activities between May 2002 and July 2004.


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