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Consultation FAQs

The following are some questions and answers relating to the consultation. Please read these FAQs before contacting RCUK for further information.

What do we mean by ‘Capital investment priorities for research and research led innovation’?
‘Capital investment priorities for research and research led innovation’ is a term to describe those capital items, for example: infrastructure, facilities – that are in priority need of public funding to ensure that the UK’s research base is equipped to remain at the forefront of research and research-led innovation. Different research areas have different needs for infrastructure or facilities, so capital investment can encompass a range of project types for example developing infrastructure capability; funding research equipment for instrumentation or analysis; ensuring existing research infrastructure is maintained; enabling new research centres to be developed; or establishing data collections from, for example, birth cohort studies.

How will responses be used?
Responses will be used by Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of our development of a comprehensive overview of the priorities for capital investment for research and innovation over the next few years. This overview will be published as the RCUK Capital Investment Roadmap in autumn 2012.

Why are the Research Councils developing the Capital Investment Roadmap?
Reflecting changes to capital funding in the 2010 spending review science settlement, RCUK wishes to maintain the case for continued investment in new facilities and infrastructure to keep the UK at the forefront of science, research and innovation, whilst continuing to help ensure investment to maintain the UK's existing research infrastructure and facilities. Once this Roadmap is developed and maintained, it will help RCUK be prepared to make capital investment recommendations to Government. These will be ready to make a compelling case for capital investment alongside other priorities across Government as and when opportunities arise.

Is there a limit to the number of priorities I can submit to this invitation?
No, but we ask that only significant capital priorities are submitted: those which exceed the normal capital investment capabilities of your institution, group or consortium. Please do not include smaller research capital projects that are of a scale that could be financed through your own capital investment strategies.

Why do we need a Capital Investment Roadmap if we already have a Large Facilities Roadmap?
The Large Facilities Roadmap has been an important base from which to provide advice to Government for priorities for funding from the Governments Large Facilities Capital Fund (LFCF). Due to recent changes in the way capital is funded, RCUK currently sees a need for highlighting a wider portfolio of capital priorities than just large facilities as included in the previous Large Facilities Roadmap. The new Capital Investment Roadmap will continue to include large facilities, but will be broadened to include other significant capital priorities, covering both research and support for innovation from research.

How is the Capital Investment Roadmap connected with funding for Large Facilities?
The Capital Investment Roadmap will identify significant capital priorities for the UK research base, which will continue to include priorities for large facilities funding as previously included in the Large Facilities Roadmap and funded through the LFCF. The wider range of priorities in the Capital Investment Roadmap means that we are more able to take advantage in future of whatever capital funding becomes available, whether from the LFCF or other sources.

Should priorities identified for capital investment typically be £25M or more, as was the case with submissions to the RCUK Large Facilities Roadmap?
There is no lower limit on the size of capital priorities people can submit in their response. However, please only let RCUK know about significant investments: those which exceed the normal capital investment capabilities of an institution, group or consortium. We do not want to know about smaller research capital projects that are of a scale that could be financed through your own capital investment strategies.

Why is this consultation different from consultations on the RCUK Large Facilities Roadmap?
Formerly, RCUK consulted the research community with a draft of its Large Facilities Roadmap, seeking feedback on priorities already listed. Because the Capital Investment Roadmap is a new development, RCUK wants to consult with communities before developing a list of priorities, to ensure that the submissions received help us to shape this work. Once the initial Capital Investment Roadmap is developed, consultation on future editions may involve issuing a draft roadmap for consideration instead.

What is the LFCF?
In the UK funding for large facilities and infrastructure is available from the Research Councils, Government Departments, Regional Development Agencies, Devolved Administrations, charities, the private sector, the European Commission and other international bodies. A particular source of capital funding is Large Facilities Capital Fund (LFCF), administered by central Government. The LFCF has typically funded around £100 million per year to support Research Councils' investments in large research facilities and infrastructure with capital funding that could not be sensibly accommodated from within Research Council budgets.

LFCF allocations to large facilities have previously been agreed with Government biennially and provided a funding contribution to the capital costs of:

  • the development of new facilities and resources either nationally or internationally;
  • the expansion or enhancement of existing facilities;
  • the upgrading or replacement of existing facilities.

The future of the LFCF will be determined in the next spending review.

What is the timetable for this consultation?
The RCUK Capital Investment Roadmap consultation runs for 12 weeks. The closing deadline is 5pm 04 May 2012.

What will happen if our suggestion for a capital investment priority is considered for inclusion in the Roadmap?
Your suggestion may be included in the final published Roadmap. In this instance, RCUK may contact you for further information about your submission.

What is the process for inclusion of suggestions to the Roadmap?
The responses from this consultation will be collated and passed to a range of Research Councils’ strategic advisory bodies whose membership that is widely gathered from across the research community. These advisory bodies are helping us to identify strategic priorities for inclusion in the Roadmap, and will look at the collated consultation responses alongside their own recommendations and check that nothing important has been overlooked. Once this exercise is complete, the advisory bodies will make their final recommendations to RCUK, and we will use these as the basis for drafting the Roadmap.

Will inclusion in the Roadmap mean that our suggestion will get funded?
No. The Roadmap is not a funding guide, and not everything that appears in it will receive funding. The Roadmap’s purpose is to describe the range of UK priorities for capital investment at present.

So who decides whether a project in the Roadmap receives funding?
Once published, RCUK will use the Roadmap as the main source for identifying projects which it will recommend for funding to Government. Recommendations for projects to be funded will be developed on an ongoing basis by RCUK, taking on board further advice as necessary. The final decision to centrally publicly fund any capital investment project recommended from the Roadmap rests with Government however, and not RCUK.

How can I be kept up to date with progress of the Roadmap?
Major updates on progress will be posted on the RCUK website as and when they are available.

When will we know if our suggestion will be included in the Roadmap?
The Capital Investment Roadmap will be published in autumn 2012.

Can my organisation suggest more than one capital investment priority to the consultation via the online survey?
Yes. Each submission will require the survey to be completed again, however, so please make sure to include your name/your organisation name each time so that we can link you with each of your submissions.

What If I have questions about this consultation that are not answered here?
All enquiries relating to this consultation should be sent to

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