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Aims and Organisation

The RCUK mission is to optimise the ways that Research Councils work together to deliver their goals, to enhance the overall performance and impact of UK research, training and knowledge transfer and to be recognised by academia, business and government for excellence in research sponsorship.


RCUK’s ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do researchinnovate and grow business.

This requires:

  • long-term investment in world-class research and innovation
  • realising the full potential of the UK research and innovation ecosystem
  • developing the right skills, leadership and infrastructure to fuel a sustainable economy and create high quality jobs.

We will continue to do this by:

  • shaping a world-leading research base with strength across disciplines
  • accelerating innovation and impact from this excellent research base
  • collaborating and co-investing with partners
  • driving new multidisciplinary research programmes
  • working together as a collective to maximise impact and further drive efficiency.

The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Collectively, we invest £3 billion each year to meet tomorrow’s challenges today:

Creating new knowledge

  • Funding basic research excellence
  • Responding to society’s challenges
  • Developing skill, leadership and infrastructure
  • Leading UK research direction

Driving innovation

  • Creating environments and brokering partnerships
  • Co-delivering research and innovation with 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs
  • Intelligence for policy making


Leadership of RCUK is provided by the Research Councils’ chief executives, working together through the forum of the RCUK Strategic Executive.

RCUK activities are delivered across the Councils through three mechanisms: joint Council business units, cross-Research Council groups, joint Research Council projects and day-to-day collaboration between Council staff.

RCUK’s priorities for joint working between the Research Councils are set out in the RCUK Delivery Plan.

RCUK is not a legal entity and its existence does not alter the governance of the individual Research Councils or the accountability of their chief executives, who remain directly and personally accountable for the guardianship of public funds. These accountabilities are not exercised through RCUK.

Although RCUK is a non-executive partnership, it adopts current good practice of all public bodies. This includes compliance with codes of practice and legislation on risk management, Freedom of Information, data protection and a proactive approach to publishing information about RCUK's activities, services, policies and performance.

Working for the Research Councils

For information on Research Councils recruitment please visit the UK Shared Business Services Ltd (UK SBS) recruitment website.

The Research Councils have developed a set of harmonised policies and guidance covering most non-pay employment terms and conditions.

Supplying goods and services to the Research Councils

In 2007 the UK Shared Business Services Ltd (U KSBS) was established to help the UK's seven Research Councils ensure that the UK remains at the very forefront of research and innovation. The SBS will achieve this by delivering quality services in the areas of Human Resources, Finance, Procurement and IT IS.

The procurement function provides a wide range of services and dedicated specialist Category Managers to support specialist requirements such as Information Technology, Travel and Facilities Management. Procurement consists of a group of professionals who manage and deliver strategic procurement planning, advice and implementation services for major acquisitions.

For more information, visit

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