About Simpler and Better Funding

The UKRI Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme is creating a new funding service that is easy to use and supports everyone involved in research funding.

Our goal is to operate a single, consistent user-centred service that:

  • reduces the burden of finding, applying for and managing research funding
  • gives UKRI evidence to support funding the best ideas
  • can respond and adapt easily to change

The SBF programme is providing a funding service based on a new digital platform, with improved policies, processes and support. The new service will make it easier for researchers and innovators to collaborate, obtain guidance, and submit applications in a joined-up way.

The new UKRI Funding Service will replace UKRI’s existing systems, including the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. Ultimately, the new service will support all UKRI funding opportunities, of every type, and from any UKRI organisation.

By the end of 2023 over 238 funding opportunities for the seven research councils were launched in the new service, with over 8500 applications received.

Transition to the new UKRI Funding Service

We are developing the Funding Service in an agile, iterative, way, with the gradual introduction of functionality, features and different funding types.

Our approach

As we introduce the service, we are also continuously enhancing it to ensure a consistent, simpler, and better funding service for all.

To allow for a smooth transition in 2024, there will be an ongoing service in Je-S while we continue to build and test additional functionality in the Funding Service.

We continue to pilot awards on the Funding Service and the ambition is to introduce grant award and post award management functionality at scale in spring 2024.

Following the grant award pilots, we will provide further training and guidance to support users and their organisations through this transition.

We will continue to iterate and develop the funding service and make processes more efficient, with further enhancements across the platform including panel, core team co-edit application, and account self-service for organisation and person information.

The SBF programme will run to March 2025. We will continue to give researchers and research organisations updated information in advance of changes to help them plan.​

Transitioning different funding types

In 2024 we are introducing the following standard question sets in the Funding Service:

  • responsive mode/standard research
  • travel opportunities
  • research fellowships
  • commercialisation opportunities
  • networks and hubs opportunities
  • public engagement opportunities

We are currently developing standard question sets for managing and developing infrastructure and equipment opportunities. You can expect to see these application templates in the service in spring 2024.

Each type of opportunity will have its own timeline for the transition to the Funding Service. We will make this clear on the UKRI funding finder in advance of any changes.

What to expect in the new Funding Service

The Funding Service will address many of the issues of complexity and unnecessary bureaucracy recognised by researchers and identified in various reviews of research funding such as the independent review into research bureaucracy. The improvements include:

  • a single front door: each opportunity made available through the same site and approached in consistent ways
  • a clearer layout for applications, structured around questions that relate to the criteria used for deciding on an application
  • an application process that asks only for the information we need to decide on an application
  • an application process that asks for information once and uses this information again if needed later in the grant funding journey
  • more consistent guidance to help applicants at the point of the process where that guidance applies
  • an easier review process as the application questions link more directly to assessment criteria
  • greater consistency across UKRI opportunities with standardised application questions and assessment criteria

Since launching the service we have continued to develop functionality and make improvements based on user-centred design and feedback, including:

  • enhancing the organisation search facility when inviting other collaborators
  • better visibility of expert review status and statistics
  • additional features added to the rich text editor when writing an application
  • improvements to how users can view an application, so they can see the full question asked and the guidance that supports it
  • research office managers and administrators with Funding Service administrator accounts can now view and co-edit all sections of the application ahead of submission
  • research organisations can also manage notification groups which reflect their unique internal structures, allowing research organisation support services to better manage their own portfolio


As part of UKRI’s commitment to making the new Funding Service accessible, we are building it in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

We carry out accessibility testing with the Digital Accessibility Centre. User testing is carried out by their team, who all have disabilities. They have experienced first-hand the barriers that an inaccessible website places between them and independence.

We have also conducted a survey with the National Association of Disabled Staff Network, and we are using the findings to inform the design of the new Funding Service.

Read the UKRI Funding Service accessibility statement.

Keep up to date

To keep up to date with developments in the new Funding Service, sign up for our ‘Simpler and Better’ newsletter.

Last updated: 13 June 2024

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