All UK Higher Education Institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies are eligible to receive funds for research, postgraduate training and associated activities.
These bodies consist of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DEL).
Research institutes for which the Research Councils have established a long-term involvement as major funder are also eligible to receive research funding, from any Council.
Other independent research organisations (IROs) may also be eligible if they possess an existing in-house capacity to carry out research that materially extends and enhances the national research base and are able to demonstrate an independent capability to undertake and lead research programmes. They must also satisfy other criteria related to their financial and legal status: these are set out in full in the Research Councils' joint statement on eligibility, which can be viewed here.
The current list of eligible IROs can be seen here
A list of the Research Council Institutes is available here.
Information for IROs on how to apply for eligibility
Any organisation wishing to apply for IRO status should contact the Je-S helpdesk in the first instance. The Je-S helpdesk will then advise you of the process and send the appropriate documentation to be completed. When e-mailing the helpdesk for this purpose please include “Application for IRO Status” in the subject heading and provide the full name and postal address of your organisation.
Details of how to contact the Helpdesk can be found in the contacts page.
Eligibility of TSB Catapult Centres
Catapult Centres do not currently meet the Research Councils’ eligibility criteria for Independent Research Organisations as they have been established by the public sector as detailed in the Research Councils' joint statement on eligibility. Organisations that are eligible to apply for RCUK research funding may work in partnership or collaboration with any other organisation, irrespective of its eligibility status, this includes Catapult Centres. This as a key way of ensuring academic-Catapult collaboration. Catapult Centres may be named contractors within research grants, and for some Research Councils, their staff may be eligible as Co-Investigators (See ESRC and MRC rules on eligibility for Co-Investigators).
To view the guidance that individual Research Councils are providing to their communities, follow the links below:
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)
Find out more about RCUK's International activities and
Explore our funding using the RCUK Gateway to Research