Research England £8 billion investment in England’s universities

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Research England has published its funding decisions for university research and knowledge exchange, expected to be £8 billion over the spending review period.

These funding decisions recognise the excellence of our university research base and its importance in supporting sustainable economic growth and improving societal benefits by reaching more people across England.

Benefits of research

Every day, we all reap the benefit of universities’ research and their partnerships.

Health care, electric vehicles, safe foods, the shift to renewable energy and online commerce have all used advances in knowledge and collaboration with universities.

A financial bedrock for this work comes from long term, performance-driven investment in research and knowledge exchange through Research England.

A stable base for collaboration

This funding helps universities to provide a stable base for individual research projects and fast-moving collaborations between universities, businesses, and local partners.

Today, Research England announces:

  • stable allocations over the spending review period to deliver research and knowledge exchange for societal and economic benefit locally, nationally and globally. This includes an increase of 6.1% in 2022 to 2023 over 2021 to 2022, and an increase of 13.8% in 2022 to 2023 over 2020 to 2021
  • quality-related research (QR) funding increased by 10.4% from £1,789 million to £1,974 million, rewarding success in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework
  • knowledge exchange funding through the formula-driven Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) increased by 13% from £230 million to £260 million with enhanced focus on commercialisation, business collaboration and local growth. It also includes knowledge exchange funding through a new formula supplement and focus on innovative and collaborative projects
  • research with business supported by an increase of 36% from £84 million to £114 million
  • £100 million for the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) to support the development of large-scale research infrastructure, double matched by investment from private and charitable partners
  • sustained funding of £36 million annually to enable universities in England to further improve research culture and enhance research conducted in partnership with communities.

Delivering economic and social impact

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England said:

I am delighted that this funding provides sustained support from government for universities to make real progress on a broad range of research and knowledge exchange challenges.

This investment, alongside that of other funders, business and from universities themselves, will deliver economic and social impact and benefit people and communities right across the country.

Further information

Further details of the allocation are published in the circular letter.

For a more detailed explanation of our funding, what it supports and how it is allocated, see the Research England website.

Find out more about how we fund universities.

Technical notes

  1. The sums allocated take account of the three-year envelope given to UK Research and Innovation. Using the flexibility offered by the conversion from financial year figures into academic year figures by Research England, the sums represent stable allocations over the funding review. We are unable to confirm academic year commitments beyond the current spending review period at this point. Those figures will be confirmed in due course.
  2. Proportional allocations across disciplinary areas are maintained, recognising the contribution that all our disciplines make to national life. This includes the significant contribution to culture and quality of life from the arts and humanities.
  3. Increased funding for core research (mainstream quality-related research) will reward high performance in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, benefitting those universities with above-average quality gains who are also building increased research capacity. Notably many of those universities are based outside the Greater South-East and the funding allocations recognise better evidence on where excellent research is located.
  4. Increased funding for universities of 9.9% to support doctoral education recognises the challenges facing research students. Continuing explicit funding for research culture (new in 2021 to 2022) demonstrates the government’s commitment to people and culture.
  5. Similarly, continuing funding for engagement of universities in local and national policy development and for participatory research is an endorsement of the role universities play in addressing ways forward for the nation in the 21st century.
  6. An increase of 7.4% to the charity research support stream recognises the important role of charity funded research in meeting science superpower ambitions, particularly for medical research.
  7. These increases will help universities in their business partnerships to support national and local economic recovery and the ambitions of the Innovation Strategy. This includes addressing the important government priority on investors and spinouts.

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