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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.

There are four Funding Councils in the UK, supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the devolved Departments of Education.

The Research Councils comply with government-wide corporate general guidance documents and instructions. Information on these can be found here.

The RCUK Partnership is supported by a small Executive Directorate, working with people across the Research Councils to stimulate and encourage cross-Council collaboration. The Executive Directorate's role is to foster cross-Council working where it makes sense. It works equally across the Councils to provide the platforms, tools and impetus for optimum joint working.

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.

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.

Funding Council support for research (Quality Related or QR funding) is distributed on the basis of the excellence of individual departments in higher education institutions, using the results of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

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 here:

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)

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.

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


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