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Vision, Mission and Values

Vision, Mission and Values

Human civilisations have been shaped by their ability to generate and use knowledge. Knowledge is a cultural good and applying it wisely is vital to our health, wealth, wellbeing and resilience.

Sharaj Jafair of True Invivo Ltd in a cloakroom

The world is changing fast, and the UK needs a research and innovation system that is fit for the future: able to respond to environmental, social and economic change on a global scale. In this changing world we face several challenges and opportunities:

  • New ideas and technologies are critical to addressing the complex challenges facing all societies around the world. Climate change, ageing, security threats and the provision of better public services all call for policies and solutions that are informed by research and innovation.
  • Economic growth depends increasingly on knowledge, and the UK must do more to make the most of its world-class research, and support its businesses to stay at the cutting edge.
  • The globalisation of research, innovation and business creates an intensely competitive international environment and new tools are changing the way in which we explore the world.
  • Society is changing. The rising use of social media is changing the nature of discussion. It has never been more important to engage the public in discussions about research and its application through innovation, to ensure we deliver maximum benefit for everyone.

The UK benefits from world-class research and innovation. Our expertise spans all fields of knowledge, from the discovery of penicillin and the development of monoclonal antibodies, to the invention of the jet engine and the world-wide web. But we need to go further to address the challenges we face now and in the future.

Individual components of the UK research and innovation system have great strengths. Now we have built a new, unified system which will be able to respond with agility to new challenges and opportunities. The search for new knowledge and solutions increasingly crosses disciplines and sectors.

Three years on from Sir Paul Nurse’s independent review of the Research Councils, UK Research and Innovation was created on 1 April 2018. We have brought together nine organisations, each of which are well connected with their communities and highly respected across the world. But the real work starts now. A programme of engagement and research will allow us to build on this prospectus and tackle the big questions facing our nation in partnership with the innovation and research communities.


In the Industrial Strategy White Paper, the Government set out five foundations of productivity: ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places. We will make a significant contribution to each of these foundations through policies, funding schemes and advocacy and champion the value of ideas.

We use this framework to describe how our plans will deliver new knowledge, and economic, social and cultural impacts; support the delivery of the Government’s target to raise R&D spend to 2.4% of GDP; and help to deliver the Industrial Strategy.

The vision

The Government has set an ambition for the UK to become the most innovative country in the world, and has committed as part of the Industrial Strategy to raise investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Increasing investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP in a decade is ambitious and will require concerted effort by the Government and business. We will work with Government to develop a plan for meeting this target, maximising the impact of public investment in research and innovation, and supporting business and other partners to invest more.

Our mission

Our mission is to work with our partners to ensure that world-leading research and innovation continues to grow and flourish in the UK. We will support and help to connect the best researchers and businesses. We will invest every pound of taxpayers’ money wisely in a way that generates excellent outcomes and ultimately impact for citizens, in the UK and across the world.

To achieve these goals, we must ensure that the UK continues to provide the best environment for research and innovation. The UK research and innovation system consists of a wide range of organisations – universities, businesses, charities, public sector bodies, innovation and enterprise agencies.

  • We will push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding. 
  • We will deliver economic impact
  • We will create social and cultural impact by supporting society to become enriched, healthier, more resilient and sustainable.

We will work closely in partnership with these organisations and with the devolved funding bodies; learning from them and strengthening the networks which underpin our world-leading position in research and innovation. We will ensure that UK Research and Innovation continues to develop as an outstanding organisation.

Our Values


We will work in partnership with the UK’s diverse community. Our priorities are to:

  • Increase the power of research and innovation to deliver for the UK, working hand in hand with business, universities, charities, independent research institutes, the national academies and other stakeholders. 
  • Work across the whole of the UK, respecting the responsibilities of the devolved governments and their funding agencies, and commit to working closely with the Office for Students in England. 
  • Maintain the UK’s reputation for research and innovation excellence, nurture our many international collaborations and aim to catalyse new ones.


We will ensure quality, value for money and sustainability are embedded in everything we do. Our priorities are to:

  • Work in partnership with those at the front line of research and innovation to identify emerging opportunities.
  • Balance these with key national strategic priorities identified through working in partnership with government.
  • Continue the commitment to the Haldane principle and make funding decisions on the basis of excellence. We will make proper use of expert review in our research funding and assessment processes and continually strive to maximise our impact and efficiency.
  • Work with stakeholders in the research system to review the key strategic drivers that ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the UK system, and advise on the balance of funding across disciplines and for the dual support system.


We will build on international best practice, learn from what works as well as what doesn’t, innovate and take risks.

  • We will build on existing strengths across our nine councils and ensure that they work together in synergy, in partnership with the devolved funding bodies.
  • We will be flexible and agile, try new approaches, and seize new opportunities.
  • Achieving the best research and innovation is an uncertain and risky business. We will support talented researchers and innovators to step into the unknown and to take risks.
  • We will engage with the public to support and help to deliver the best outcomes.


We will be independent and objective, supporting our work with rigorous analysis. We are committed to robust monitoring and evaluation of the outputs and outcomes of our work.

  • We will promote and safeguard the public value of research and innovation. 
  • We will ensure decisions are based on evidence and rigorous analysis. We will champion evidence-based policymaking across government. 
  • We will be robust in our monitoring and evaluation and share guidance on what works – and what does not.

Visual depicting how UKRI's corporate plan supports the Governments targets