Each of the Research Councils funds research within a broad set of subject disciplines, and in collaboration with other Councils and partners.
Detailed information about the areas of research each Council supports can be found on their individual websites. Those wishing to apply for research funding should address specific questions to the relevant Research Council. A brief summary of the areas of research each Council funds is outlined below.
Each of the Research Councils has a scientific vision or strategic plan which sets out the Councils overarching research aspirations and priorities. These can be accessed at:
Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
These research strategies are developed through extensive consultation with the academic community, and with a wide range of users and stakeholders including relevant Government Departments, industry, the wider public sector and also the public itself.
The Research Councils support a great deal of cross-/multi-/inter-/trans-/ disciplinary research, which benefits from drawing together insights and approaches from a number of established research disciplines. Further information on how the Research Councils support cross discipline research is available here.
The AHRC supports research across a wide subject domains including:
BBSRC funds research in the biosciences, in areas including:
EPSRC supports fundamental research in the physical sciences through to more applied topics in engineering and technology. This includes research in the following areas:
ESRC funds social science and economic research across a wide of disciplines encompassing:
The MRC’s remit covers the full range of medical research from studies of molecules to the implementation of research findings into clinical practice. This includes such topics as:
NERC funds environmental research, survey and observation work across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including:
Amongst others, STFC's areas of research include: