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RCUK states REF results reinforce the success of the dual support system

The success of the UK dual support system for university research was reinforced today as the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) were announced.  “The ability of the UK research community to deliver excellence with impact has been driven by the aligned strategies of the Research Councils and the UK higher education funding bodies ” says Rick Rylance, Chair of the RCUK Executive Group “ we have welcomed the inclusion of impact in REF for the first time and the results highlight the variety and quality of the impacts that UK research has made across the economy and society” 

“The complementarity of investments by the Research Councils and the funding bodies through dual support enables a world leading research base that attracts investment, businesses, researchers and students to the UK and creates jobs and economic growth.  Dual support enables the UK research base to succeed and lead in a globally competitive research and innovation environment.”  

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Further information

Nicholas Turner
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592 or email: Nicholas Turner

Notes to editors

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Under the dual support system, the Research Councils invest in research and innovation for specific projects, programmes and infrastructure, while the funding bodies provide block grant funding to support the university research base together these enable institutions to undertake ground-breaking research.  Such funding also provides the capacity to undertake research with business, industry, Government Departments, charities, the European Union and other international bodies.

Research Council funds are awarded on the basis of applications made by individual researchers, which are subject to independent, expert peer review.  Awards are made on the basis of the research potential and are irrespective of geographical location.

Funding body 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 REF.

Across the dual support system, the Research Councils and the funding bodies are committed to supporting excellent research and to realise the importance of impact. Research Councils require academics to consider the future impact of research at the point of applying for funding. HEFCE, in context of the REF, assesses the historic evidence of impact. All funders have a common understanding of the importance of societal and economic as well as academic impact.


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