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UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students sign collaboration agreement


UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students sign collaboration agreement

UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students (OfS) have signed a collaboration agreement confirming how the two organisations work together on shared priorities across research and teaching.

Collaborative working on these priorities will ensure a co-ordinated and strategic approach to the funding and regulation of the higher education system in England.

The agreement will allow the different funding and regulatory systems in both organisations to support and enhance the immense value universities in England generate for individuals, for cities and regions, and for our economy and society nationally and globally.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education identified several strategic areas for cooperation between UKRI and OfS during the passage of the Higher Education Research Act 2017 (HERA). These include the skills and talent pipeline, knowledge exchange, infrastructure funding, the financial sustainability of higher education providers, accountability and assurance, evidence gathering, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), and the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

UK Research and Innovation will not only rely on the OfS’s regulation of English higher education providers receiving research funding from Research England, but it will be dependent on the judgements and decisions the OfS will make as a regulator of providers in England.

Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Sir Mark Walport, said:

“This agreement emphasises how UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students will work together to ensure the UK’s higher education sector continues to have a world-leading role in teaching, research and innovation. The teaching and research work undertaken at the UK’s universities are entirely complementary. Research informs education and vice versa. A vital activity of universities is knowledge exchange with wider society and the economy.”

Chief Executive of the Office for Students, Nicola Dandridge, said:

“Teaching and research go hand in hand in our world leading universities. So I look forward to working with UK Research and Innovation on our many shared priorities. By taking a joined-up approach, we can continue to strengthen the crucial role higher education plays in boosting skills, supporting the economy and enhancing individuals’ lives.”


Tamera Jones

Communications Manager, Research England
0117 905 7606


  1. UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.
  1. Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. We are responsible for funding, engaging with and understanding these institutions, and working with devolved funding bodies and the Office for Students to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity. We support and challenge universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. We distribute over £2.2bn to universities in England every year in the form of quality-related research (QR) funding, and via the Higher Education Innovation Fund. We are responsible for administering the Research Excellence Framework, used to inform QR funding, and for delivering the forthcoming Knowledge Exchange Framework. We also support specific activities with dedicated project funding, including the £900m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and the £100m Connecting Capability Fund. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 established Research England as a Council of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK. www.ukri.org/re@ResEngland
  1. The Office for Students is the independent regulator for higher education in England. We aim to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.

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