Trusted research and innovation

‘Trusted research’ is a research and innovation sector term for protecting the UK’s intellectual property, sensitive research, people and infrastructure from potential theft, manipulation and exploitation, including as a result of interference by hostile actors.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) established its trusted research and innovation (TR&I) work programme in response to the increasing need across the sector to:

  • help manage and provide guidance and support in ensuring collaborative activities are done safely and securely
  • minimise the risks associated with operating within a global research and innovation ecosystem while maximising the opportunities

The programme is also working closely with partners across the sector to see where we can align policies, and where a coordinated approach may be useful.

For general enquiries or further information about the work programme, please contact email: trustedresearch&innovation@ukri.org

For press and media enquiries, please contact email: press@ukri.org

Guidance on legislation

The UK National Security and Investment Act (2021) provides the government with powers to scrutinise and intervene in business transactions (including by higher education and research organisations) in 17 key areas of the economy, to protect national security.

Any research and innovation activities that UKRI funds within these areas will therefore be subject to enhanced due diligence processes to ensure that risks associated with trusted research and innovation are effectively identified and proportionately mitigated against.

An Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate is also now required for international students and researchers (apart from exempt nationalities) studying or researching subjects or research areas where knowledge could be used in programmes to develop advanced conventional military technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery.

UKRI policies and guidance

UKRI continues to update its practices and approaches to reflect best practices and policies relating to trusted research and innovation. In 2021, we updated our terms and conditions for research grants to require recipients of UKRI funding to ensure that appropriate due diligence is undertaken on their collaborative activities.

To support recipients when considering their approaches to ensuring trusted research and innovation, UKRI has published a set of principles to follow, as well as further information and guidance.

See more UKRI guidance for trusted research and innovation.

Last updated: 27 October 2023

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