UKRI to unlock research impact with new funding model

African female scientist working in laboratory

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced a new revitalised funding model for universities and institutions to help increase the impact of their research.

The new Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) model represents the start of a range of efforts to improve the effectiveness and influence of funding processes.

The IAA will offer a UKRI-wide model with a single application and centralised reporting and monitoring that aims to improve strategic planning.

This is the first year that the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has also joined this programme.

Reforming our business

The model is in line with the government’s ‘reducing bureaucratic burden in research, innovation and higher education’ plan and part of the wider UKRI ‘reforming our business ’ programme.

The new IAA model aims to strengthen the ties between research and impact, and help focus investment in areas where knowledge exchange, translation, adoption and commercialisation have the strongest potential.

Commenting on the announcement, Tony Soteriou, Director of Commercialisation at UKRI, said:

The IAA model has already proved crucial for progressing innovative research in a number of our councils, and the new system will enable access for these institutions more simply, regardless of where they have applied previously.

It’s essential that ground-breaking new ideas are identified and supported in the most efficient way to help them come to market or for their impact to be realised sooner – and reducing the red tape to help achieve this aim will be a key part of the new model.

What is important is that this new model is just the beginning of a journey of continual improvement for the IAA system and wider interactions between funding and research institutions.

We will continue to look for opportunities to make the process as effective as possible to help translate support and investment into the practical application of research results for the benefit of UK industry and wider society.


The IAA model will incorporate funding through the following UKRI councils:

  • AHRC
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The opportunity for applications opens on 6 July and will run for three months until 6 October.

Following assessment and evaluation, the first of the new harmonised funding awards will then be made from April 2022.

Top image:  Credit: janiecbros/GettyImages

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