Our corporate plan, together with the strategic delivery plans of our nine councils, builds on our five-year strategy. It describes how we will deliver our vision, mission and six strategic objectives over the next three years. Our work programme is underpinned by the principles for change set out in our strategy:
This corporate plan recognises the integrated capability of our councils and provides an overview of the collective activities across UK Research and Innovation, including our plans to streamline our operational expenditure to become a more efficient and effective organisation.
It should be considered as an annex to our strategy, setting out our ambitions for the next three years with a focus on activities for 2022 to 2023. We will report our progress on these activities through our annual report and accounts.
Council-specific activities are described in more detail in each council’s strategic delivery plan.
Our purpose: transforming tomorrow together
UK Research and Innovation is the engine for the UK as a research and innovation powerhouse. We invest more than £8 billion each year on behalf of the government, leveraging expertise across all disciplines and sectors.
We inspire and enable talented people to push the boundaries of discovery, support innovative businesses to grow and scale, and target solutions to national and global priorities.
Our strategy sets out how we will work with our many partners and stakeholders to foster an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that drives economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for all citizens, transforming tomorrow together.
Our principles for change
We will embed these principles across all our work, to drive change and create the conditions for an outstanding research and innovation system:
- diversity: of ideas, people, activities, skills, institutions and infrastructures advances knowledge, and increases quality and creativity
- resilience: ensures the agility, capability and flexibility needed to withstand shocks, deliver long-term goals and capture new opportunities
- connectivity: across disciplines, sectors and borders catalyses new ideas and approaches to deliver impact
- engagement: shapes research and innovation to reflect the needs, perspectives and motivations of diverse stakeholders and the public.
Our strategic objectives
These objectives provide the framework for how we will achieve our vision and realise our principles, through world-class:
People and careers
Making the UK the most attractive destination for talented people and teams from the UK and around the world.
Securing the UK’s position as a globally leading research and innovation nation with outstanding institutions, infrastructures, sectors and clusters across the breadth of the country.
Advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and innovation by enabling the UK to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, multidisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets.
Delivering the government’s vision for the UK as an innovation nation, through concerted action of Innovate UK and wider UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Focusing the UK’s world-class science and innovation to target global and national challenges, create and exploit tomorrow’s technologies, and build the high-growth business sectors of the future.
Supported by a world-class organisation, making UKRI the most efficient, effective and agile organisation it can be.
Through the current spending review period (2022 to 2025), we are committed to the following.
Boosting tomorrow’s technologies
We are increasing our investment in technologies of the future, to realise the UK’s strategic advantage across the technology families identified in the government’s UK Innovation Strategy.
Building on the success of our artificial intelligence (AI), quantum technologies and engineering biology programmes, we will work with businesses to crowd-in investment, create high value jobs and grow these world leading sectors. See objective five.
Developing, attracting and retaining talented people
We will nurture and grow the UK’s talent base and ensure the UK is a magnet for global talent to help boost the UK’s research and development (R&D) intensity to 2.4% of GDP.
Our new £2 billion talent programme will set the standard for talent investment globally with a 26% increase in investment by 2024 to 2025. We will support the full range of talent needed through a portfolio of flagship programmes including studentships, further rounds of our Future Leaders Fellowships and global talent visas, connecting sectors and disciplines through diverse and flexible career paths. See objective one.
Outstanding infrastructure across the UK
Cutting edge research and innovation infrastructures are critical in making the UK a science superpower. We are growing our annual investment in infrastructure by at least £200 million to reach over £1.1 billion in 2024 to 2025. This includes £100 million for a new round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), the first since 2017.
Our investment will grow the UK’s research and innovation capabilities, attract globally mobile business, crowd-in private sector investment and drive growth in all parts of the UK. See objective two.
Catalysing growth by supercharging innovation
We will increase the UK’s productivity and economic growth through our increased investment in innovation.
We are driving forward the government’s UK Innovation Strategy, leading the charge through Innovate UK’s ‘Plan for Action for UK Business Innovation’, increasing its budget to over £1 billion a year by 2024 to 2025. Our investment will accelerate commercialisation, support knowledge exchange and collaboration, support innovative businesses to scale and make the UK the best place in the world to invest. See objective four.
Thriving research and innovation clusters across the UK
We are backing and connecting academia, researchers, businesses and investors in key clusters of excellence to drive growth and jobs in all nations and regions of the UK.
We will deliver three pilot Innovation Accelerators in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow City Region. Our investments will deliver economic, social and cultural benefits from research and innovation to all citizens and contribute to the government’s targets for R&D investment outside the Greater South East. See objective two.
Building a greener future for all
We will contribute towards delivering net zero, ensuring UK energy security, supporting a healthy, productive and biodiverse environment, and raising prosperity across the UK.
Through a major new strategic programme, ‘Building a Green Future’, we will harness the full breadth of research and innovation by bringing together investments right across UKRI, including harnessing the power of design to catalyse the transition to net zero and a green economy. This whole-system solution will increase productivity and secure a green future for all. See objective five.
Tackling global and national challenges
We will work in partnership with government departments, researchers, innovators, business, and global investors to target global and national challenges.
Building on existing investments, we are investing an additional £185 million across UKRI to address large scale, complex challenges. This coordinated and collaborative approach will address national and global priorities, including the government’s National Science and Tech Council priorities. See objective five.
Supporting new insights through interdisciplinary science
We are committed to supporting the best ideas to advance the frontiers of knowledge and innovation.
A diverse and dynamic research and innovation ecosystem is key to the UK’s future health and wellbeing, prosperity and global influence. We are creating a new £65 million fully open interdisciplinary responsive mode pilot that will support new and emerging areas that reach beyond disciplinary boundaries, building new collaborative partnerships to making exciting discoveries. See objective three.
Becoming a more agile, responsive organisation
Our new operating model and data systems will enable UKRI to become a more open and nimble organisation, catalysing, connecting and convening right across the research and innovation ecosystem to deliver transformative outcomes for our society, economy and environment.
By cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and driving up efficiency we will maximise our support for research and innovation, increasing value for money for the UK taxpayer. See objective six.
Objective one: world-class people and careers
Making the UK the top destination for talented people and teams
We are committed to making the UK a destination of choice for talented individuals, teams and businesses, retaining our position as a world-leader in research and innovation.
We will continue to invest in people and teams across the full research and innovation skills spectrum, aligning council-specific and pan-UKRI investments and practices to ensure our research and innovation environment and culture act as magnets for global talent, enabling creative people and teams to thrive.
This will ensure we have the people and skills necessary to underpin the system, connecting research and innovation to deliver impacts and securing a competitive advantage in strategic technologies.
Our People, Culture and Talent portfolio recognises the breadth and interdependency of this work and offers a holistic approach which, while not easy, will give us an opportunity to align work most effectively and avoid silos.
Over the next three years, we will transform the way we invest in talent, creating a £2 billion pooled talent budget that will support a portfolio of flagship studentships and fellowships across career stages, increasing investment in these programmes by 26% by 2024 to 2025.
We will enhance career path diversity ensuring support for the creative disruptive drivers of scientific and technical revolutions, and the highly skilled workforce needed for an innovation-led economy addressing the needs of businesses and industries.
We will champion an outstanding research and innovation culture where individuals can thrive, boosting recognition for technicians, postdoctoral researchers and research-allied roles. We will enhance the porosity of the system, incentivising the movement of people, ideas, skills and knowhow, building the networks needed for creation, adoption and diffusion of new ideas and technologies.
Make the UK the most attractive destination for talented people and teams from the UK and around the world
In 2022 to 2023, we will create a UKRI-wide talent programme that will set the standard for talent investment globally, harmonise our activities to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for the community to work across boundaries, including:
- extending our Future Leaders Fellowships programme with a further round of funding, and developing a new collective approach to fellowships that creates opportunities and incentivises movement between disciplines, sectors and roles, and widens participation to attract and retain the talented leaders needed for a world-class research and innovation endeavour
- continuing to support the government to deliver a new deal for postgraduate research, publishing a response to our call for input and using this work to challenge and transform our approach to doctoral training. We will do this through harmonisation and innovation in how we invest to ensure it is sustainable, open and attractive to a wide range of candidates, increases the movement of people and ideas across the research and innovation system, and meets the needs of future employers.
We will also promote and grow the use of Global Talent Visa and temporary worker routes, including:
- driving reforms to improve high-skilled migration routes for innovators and entrepreneurs
- expanding the UKRI short-term mobility scheme and joining up current mobility offers to support easier access and establish a near-business route for Global Talent Visa holders
- increasing national and international engagement to improve our understanding of the barriers to global mobility, improve equitable access, and build awareness with wider audiences including businesses and post-graduate students.
Develop the breadth of skilled people and teams essential for the future R&D workforce
In 2022 to 2023, we will deliver our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy and action plans, as part of delivering the research and development (R&D) people and culture strategy, to support and champion the diverse, inclusive and connected research and innovation system essential for success, including building the evidence base and sharing good practice. This includes establishing a new EDI caucus, an interdisciplinary network of academics to provide evidence and research insights that inform policy and practice across the research and innovation sector, in partnership with the British Academy.
We will also deliver our action plans on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers: UKRI Funder Action Plan and the Technician Commitment Action Plan, including:
- reviewing our assessor guidance and engagement to incentivise research workforce development within funding applications
- incentivising diverse career paths, removing barriers, and improving our support for early career researchers and the range of roles needed in research and innovation through council-specific targeted activities that foster partnerships and collaborations across the academic, business, investor and policy communities, alongside our collective activities to develop and influence wider policy and culture.
Shift research culture to support talented people and teams to pursue their ideas
In 2022 to 2023, we will develop and influence responsible national and international research and innovation policy and culture, including by:
- supporting the work of the UK Committee on Research Integrity (UK CORI), working in partnership with the UK Research Integrity Office and The Concordat to Support Research Integrity to build trustworthy research and share best practice
- strengthening our role in multilateral fora, including the deliberations of the Global Research Council, Science Europe, the OECD Global Science Forum and G7 Science Track
- delivering our open access policy to improve access and re-use of publicly funded research. We will develop our open data policy to incentivise research data sharing, and where appropriate, protocols, software, and code to support re-use, research integrity and collaboration
- convening partners and key stakeholders across the research and innovation sector to co-create a way forward for phase two of the research concordats and agreements review (Universities UK). This aims to increase the influence, capacity and efficiency of concordats and agreements, and complements the work of the review of research bureaucracy (GOV.UK).
We will also pilot models and adopt good practice for improving research and innovation culture, working with partners to take a data and evidence-based approach to drive efficient and sustainable change, including by:
- championing work to prevent bullying and harassment, focusing on system-level change to create healthy research and innovation cultures including convening and chairing the cross-sector forum for tackling bullying and harassment
- delivering an end-to-end ‘Review of Peer Review’ to improve our practice and support the delivery of the best outcomes from our funding. We aim to publish the outcomes in 2023 to 2024
- increasing the number of pilots, and supporting community adoption, of the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI). We will convene two communities of practice to provide an efficient, cohesive and comprehensive approach to shifting what is visible, valued, recognised and rewarded across the research and innovation sector, and we will add resources to the Résumé Library (Joint Funders Group)
- responding to the independent review of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI): final report and recommendations (GOV.UK), which acknowledged the need to safeguard researchers and innovators, and the outputs of research and innovation, by embedding trusted research and innovation. We will implement governance structures and processes, build our knowledge and understanding, and implement risk assessment protocols across our councils.
We will also publish and deliver a new public engagement strategy for UKRI that outlines our goals and priorities for breaking down the barriers between research, innovation and society. This includes:
- launching new community-led engagement programmes that build capacity, capability and connectivity for meaningful collaborations between researchers, innovators and communities, through funding for community-led research projects and support for local networks
- continuing to support young people to explore the relevance of research and innovation in their lives as future decision makers, researchers and innovators through programmes and activities such as the STEM Ambassador Programme, Being Human festival, Explore Your Universe programme and CREST Awards. We will also review our approach to youth engagement with research and innovation, including a review of our STEM Ambassador Programme
- exploring innovative ways to conduct dialogue on research and innovation topics, for example through our ‘rethinking public dialogue: a UKRI experimentation fund’. Working in partnership with the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, this £480,000 fund will support projects that will create evidence for new methods to listen and act on a wide range of voices.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will:
- measure the number and variety of people, places and organisations supported to ensure we are incentivising diverse career paths
- measure the use of the Global Talent Visa and the breadth and coverage of our studentship and fellowship schemes to identify how we are attracting and supporting talented people
- monitor and evaluate our culture interventions including the R4RI and the open access policy, learning from them to ensure we have supported an open and collaborative research and innovation culture.
Highlight: developing world-leading artificial intelligence (AI) skills
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will lead a £20 million investment to double the numbers of Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships in the UK. This will sit alongside a £117 million investment across UKRI to continue to provide AI doctorate level training at scale.
Fellows will tackle methodological challenges in AI, drawing on real world use cases across all disciplines, whilst Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) will train the next generation of AI researchers and practitioners. Fellows and CDTs will complement wider UKRI AI investments and bridge academia and business providing skills and ethical solutions in support of the UK’s ambition to become an AI powerhouse.
Highlight: strengthening our evidence base to attract global talent
We will publish the first iteration of the Global Mobility Evidence Report providing a comprehensive single point of reference for joined-up policy making.
Delivering on the research and development (R&D) people and culture strategy aim to ’strengthen the evidence base on the barriers associated with moving to the UK and their impact on researchers, their teams and their families, and their career decisions’, we engaged with around 40 organisations across government and the research and innovation sector to compile existing data and collect new evidence.
We will refresh this report annually to help address evidence gaps and build a more holistic understanding of mobility across the research and innovation sector.
Case study: supporting an outstanding research and innovation culture through open access
As we developed our research article open access policy, author choice for journal article open access publishing was important.
Supporting cost effective agreements was a key consideration and working with the research sector to ensure these covered predicted UKRI author output is key.
Before the article policy was introduced in 2021, just under 50% of predicated author outputs were covered via a compliant journal route eligible for UKRI funds. Now in 2022, as we continue to deliver on the government research and development ambition and wider people and culture aims, that has risen to an estimated 87%, and the trajectory continues to grow.
The policy requires that findings from research we fund are open access, including immediate open access to monographs and book chapters.
Objective two: world-class places
Securing the UK’s position as a globally leading research and innovation nation with outstanding institutions, infrastructures, sectors and clusters across the breadth of the country
Through our investments in research and innovation strengths across all regions and nations of the UK, we will deliver economic, social and cultural benefits to all citizens, in line with the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper (GOV.UK).
We will create the conditions for local high-growth clusters across the country, driving growth and crowding in private sector investments. Our investments in world-class infrastructures, institutes and centres provides long-term capability and is a crucial factor in attracting globally mobile businesses and talent to the UK.
We will continue to build on our strong relationships with a wide range of key partners and consider how incentives in the system can support even stronger benefits and impacts for people and places across the country. We will align council-focused and pan-UKRI investments to strengthen the capabilities, resilience and connectivity of our research and innovation system to secure our status as global leaders.
Over the next three years, we will invest in key attractors for private sector research and development investment to develop vibrant research and innovation clusters across the UK, contributing to the government and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) targets for research and development funding outside the Greater South East.
We will invest £100 million in three pilot innovation accelerators, aligned to our objective of delivering world-class innovation. Our annual investment in infrastructure will grow by at least £200 million to reach over £1.1 billion in 2024 to 2025.
Through our pan-UKRI Infrastructure Fund and Digital Research Infrastructure programme, we will deliver the commitments in our UK’s research and innovation infrastructure opportunity report to provide a robust, strategic approach to investment in all parts of the UK. We will work with government to ensure that digital infrastructure aligns with government strategies and reviews such as the GOV.UK future of compute review. We will work with partners, including government, the private sector and international consortia, to deliver infrastructure projects that cross all disciplines and span the research and innovation spectrum.
We will increase our core investment in institutes, centres and facilities by supporting long term capability critical to maintaining our global leadership. This investment includes funding for top talent hosted in our world-leading institutes, key in attracting globally mobile researchers and innovators at all career stages.
We will also work to optimise how we balance our funding, understanding the strengths, weaknesses and pressures across the funding landscape to improve the system’s resilience, and support the long-term delivery of excellent research and innovation, building on the findings of the independent review of the research, development and innovation organisational landscape (GOV.UK).
We will also continue to deliver the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), managed by Research England in partnership with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland, to stimulate collaborative investment in higher education research facilities across the UK.
Strengthen clusters and partnerships= locally, nationally and globally
In 2022 to 2023, we will seek new opportunities and partnerships to support collaboration and knowledge exchange to deliver impactful outcomes, including by:
- launching and implementing our place toolkit so that our programmes build capacity, increase benefits and strengthen connections, in support of levelling up across the UK
- enhancing the ability of research organisations to build cross-sector partnerships and deliver real-world impacts from their research using our harmonised Impact Acceleration Account programme. We will also work with the government to develop a new model of Innovation Accelerators (as described in the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper (GOV.UK)) to maximise the economic impact of our research and innovation strengths in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow City Region
- bringing together health, biomedical, administrative and environmental data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the major healthcare challenges in the UK by increasing connectivity and involving a broader range of people, organisations and businesses in our work, through new and enhanced existing partnerships.
We will also take a strategic approach to international partnering, collaboration and engagement by:
- launching our new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) International Strategic Framework, supporting international collaboration and interdisciplinary opportunities
- supporting long-term international collaborations, working with BEIS to develop and deliver a new international fund
- maintaining and growing key bilateral and multilateral relationships with funding agencies in world-leading and emerging economies through our UK teams and UKRI offices in North America (US and Canada), Brussels, China and India
- providing greater coordination and joint engagement on priorities for international collaboration and foreign policy through the UKRI-Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Concordat, and shaping the partnership agenda to support the objectives of the ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’ policy paper (GOV.UK) and upcoming UK government’s strategy for international development, working with BEIS and the FCDO
- continuing to prepare for the transition to association or non-association with Horizon Europe, including delivering the UK government’s guarantee of funding for eligible UK applicants who have successfully been evaluated by the European Commission.
Improve the financial sustainability of research and innovation in organisations across the UK
In 2022 to 2023, we will build our understanding and evidence base on resilience and embed in our work and decision-making, including:
- commissioning research on research costs inflation and continuing to build our evidence base including around UKRI’s institutes and the consequences of funding changes across the research and development landscape, aligned with the findings of the research, development and innovation organisational landscape review
- working to improve the financial resilience of the system, including reviewing our approach to full economic costing. We will continue to work with Devolved Funders and the Office for Students on implementation of the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) review (Office for Students) and next steps for the margin for sustainable investment (MSI)
- convening and connecting the research and innovation community on financial sustainability through sector-led groups, including the Sustainable Finance Research Group, increasing collaboration, engagement and knowledge sharing.
Secure cutting-edge infrastructures for world-class research and innovation
In 2022 to 2023, we will ensure UK researchers have access to world-leading laboratory facilities, equipment and digital resources, including by:
- investing in facilities across the UK contributing to local clusters, leveraging at least £200 million in private sector investment, through the next round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)
- boosting the UK’s research and innovation capabilities by investing £59 million (as part of a £482 million investment over three years) in the continued delivery of the Infrastructure Fund, aligned with council-specific activities, supporting long-term, strategic investment as part of UKRI’s Infrastructure Roadmap
- enabling UK researchers to harness the full power of modern digital platforms, tools and techniques, investing £17 million (rising to £70 million in 2024 to 2025) through the digital research infrastructure programme
- maintaining our cutting-edge infrastructure and capabilities at various scales and across our estates by investing £532 million (rising to £625 million in 2024 to 2025) through our research councils and Research England as part of our ‘creating world-class research and innovation infrastructure’ programme. This includes capital funding to our institutes, multinational large infrastructures such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and to support our Antarctic Infrastructure:
- Higher Education Research Capital allocations to devolved administrations
Higher Education funding bodies are allocated by BEIS
- support for our Antarctic Infrastructure is alongside funding from additional resource streams within UKRI
- Higher Education Research Capital allocations to devolved administrations
- building national and international partnerships within research and innovation infrastructures to catalyse knowledge and capability sharing across borders, enhancing our ability to identify emerging areas of interest.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will measure:
- the types and geographic spread of institutions supported to ensure we are investing in research and innovation in a variety of institutions, across all regions and internationally
- further funding awarded to researchers and innovators to monitor how the research and innovation capability we are enabling and developing is attracting further investment, across all regions
- the breadth of international partnerships to monitor how we are enabling international partnering, collaboration and engagement
- the range of users and uses for key research and innovation infrastructures to ensure our infrastructure investments meet the needs of the research and innovation community.
Highlight: supporting the agility of our outstanding university-based research
Universities have a central and distinctive role for society and the economy. Quality-related research (QR) funding, alongside Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), is crucial for the sustainability of English research and innovation as universities continue to deliver societal and economic impacts for all communities.
It provides stable and flexible funding for universities in England to identify and achieve their strategic research ambitions, often in partnership with business, charities and other organisations.
QR forms one side of the distinctive ‘dual support’ system in England. Similar funding is provided by the higher education funding bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This funding supports essential capability and infrastructure, complementing grant-funded research activities, and enables universities to invest in longer term activities as well as respond to short to medium-term challenges. It also supports universities to invest in researcher development and the academic workforce to improve research culture.
The increase in QR funding (now £1,974 million) and HEIF (now £260 million) across the Spending Review period, will provide sustained multi-year support for research and knowledge exchange in English universities.
Case study: cutting-edge technology to understand the influence of marine life on ocean carbon storage
The global ocean absorbs a significant amount of carbon and understanding how this might change is critical for net zero policy planning.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach and bringing various skill sets together, through the Natural Environment Research Council, we will convene the observational and modelling community to exploit fully advances in technology (such as autonomous vehicles, novel sensors and molecular techniques) to understand the role of marine life in future carbon storage.
The programme leverages the UK’s expertise in observational and ocean-carbon modelling with new marine technology for sensing and data collection, as well as our research ships and national capability funding for long-term data sets. It will provide a significant contribution to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science outcome of a ‘predicted ocean’, and a step change in understanding ahead of the seventh Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report.
Case study: supporting world-leading research
UKRPIF, managed by Research England, is a UK-wide scheme designed to support investment in higher education research facilities undertaking world-leading research and requires funding to be double matched from non-public investors.
We have invested over £900 million across 53 projects since 2012, unlocking over £2.2 billion in co-investment commitments from UK-based and international partners. With 39 projects completed, we are starting to realise some of the benefits of the fund, including:
- co-location of academic staff with industry representatives and wider partners, fostering knowledge exchange and shared expertise across supply chains
- a positive impact on market readiness of research for use by consumers and society with patent applications, products rolled out and revenues from intellectual property.
In 2018, Belmana Consulting and Middlesex University London published an interim evaluation of the UKRPIF scheme.
Objective three: world-class ideas
Advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and innovation by enabling the UK to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, multidisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets
Curiosity-led research can generate radical new ideas, increasing our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, providing the foundations to solve the complex challenges of the present and the future.
We are committed to advancing the frontiers of human knowledge and enabling the UK to seize opportunities from emerging research trends, multidisciplinary approaches and new concepts and markets by investing in and incentivising opportunities that enable ground-breaking research and innovation. Through supporting great ideas wherever they are found, we can attract national and global talent, enabling people and teams to explore and be creative.
Over the next three years, we will invest £3.8 billion through open and responsive calls, through our council-focused investments. These are described in detail in our council strategic delivery plans. These investments support a wide variety of ideas, and develop the people and teams needed to explore new frontiers and deploy knowledge in novel and transformative ways.
We will work with our partners to remove barriers to multi and interdisciplinary working to ensure we create the open environment needed for new ideas to thrive.
To support the full diversity of ideas needed, we are committed to enhancing and improving our toolbox of funding mechanisms. To complement more directed interdisciplinary schemes, we will pilot a new cross-UKRI fully open interdisciplinary responsive mode programme to fund excellent ideas spanning traditional disciplinary boundaries, investing £65 million over the spending review period beginning in 2023 to 2024. This will fill an identified gap for bottom-up ideas without a natural ‘home’ council to apply to, ensuring we can fund the best ideas without disciplinary or domain constraints.
We will also collaborate with our international partners in the collective endeavour of discovery, developing new technologies and enabling companies to succeed globally. We will continue to support longstanding, open and responsive research and innovation programmes and strategic funder-to-funder relationships. We will also work with the government to develop successors to existing international funding mechanisms, including official development assistance (ODA) funds.
Invest in a diverse and dynamic portfolio of high quality, creative research and innovation
In 2022 to 2023, we will invest in a dynamic portfolio of creative, curiosity-driven research and innovation through council-led responsive mode and quality-related funding programmes, as part of the dual support system, including:
- monitoring and analysing our investment portfolio, and horizon scanning, to identify and understand emerging trends, gaps and opportunities for further synergies across UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
- building our international partnerships, collaborations and knowledge exchange including through the continued effective delivery of commitments under the Fund for International Collaboration (FIC), Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund, investing a total of £179 million.
The Newton Fund will end on 31 March 2023. FIC and the Global Challenges Research Fund will continue until 31 March 2025.
Incentivise and remove barriers to multi and interdisciplinary working
In 2022 to 2023, we will develop funding mechanisms that help to capture the best ideas unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries, through council-led and targeted cross-council, and pan-UKRI activities, including:
- developing a cross-UKRI interdisciplinary fully open responsive mode pilot to support creative ideas spanning traditional research council remits and filling an identified gap for disruptive ideas with no obvious ‘home’ council, ready to launch in 2023 to 2024
- continuing to fund high impact, multi and interdisciplinary research in strategic areas, including environment, artificial intelligence, productivity and digital technologies through the Strategic Priority Fund’s 34 established programmes
- fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, for example through working across Arts and Humanities Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Science and Technology Facilities Council, to ensure the UK has access to the next generation tools and technologies in sensing and imaging by investing in pilot projects to develop basic technologies. Through this collaboration, we aim to increase our ability to make, measure and model the world around us.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will:
- measure the breadth and variety of research and innovation supported, and their outputs and outcomes, to ensure we are supporting new ground-breaking or game-changing discoveries, technologies and innovations
- measure a small number of proxies for multi and interdisciplinarity to assess the extent to which we support research and innovation between disciplines
- build a case study bank of examples of how we have reduced or removed barriers to multi and interdisciplinary research and innovation (MIDRI) to monitor how we are helping to enhance opportunities for MIDRI to take place.
Highlight: testing new ways to uncover transformational ideas
We’ve provided information on our website to help everyone understand how to submit their great ideas to us. As part of strategic development, each of UKRI’s councils run ideas processes to engage with the research and innovation community and beyond to identify exciting, adventurous and potentially transformative ideas. These are ideas that will spark creativity and attract the enthusiasm of researchers, the public, industry and government, and potentially shape the next generation of research and innovation priorities.
Recognising that truly big ideas will often require working across disciplines and sectors, our councils work together to identify potential synergies across remits and develop ideas in a connected and agile way, wherever the idea may be submitted.
Case study: supporting multi and interdisciplinary working to reduce inequalities in public health
No single research funder has the resources or expertise to address the complex factors and systems influencing health on their own. Therefore, MRC leads the multimillion-pound UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) of twelve funders including charities, Natural Environment Research Council, EPSRC, Economic and Social Research Council and the UK health and social care departments.
The UKPRP has established six consortia such as ActEarly, who developed the Glasses in Classes scheme after studies showed that 30% of pupils who need glasses have not been to an optician, and disadvantaged children are less likely to get, or wear, the glasses they need.
First developed in Bradford schools, it has now received follow-on Department for Education opportunity area funding to reach a further 9,000 pupils in at least 225 English schools.
Objective four: world-class innovation
Delivering the government’s vision for the UK as an innovation nation, through concerted action across UKRI
Innovation is the lifeblood of the UK’s future economic growth. Increasing our focus on innovation across all parts of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), we will realise the full potential of the UK’s world-class research base and national capabilities, and champion an inspiring innovation environment.
Our end-to-end support for innovation and investments across our research councils, Research England and Innovate UK, including via Catapults and other cutting-edge infrastructure, strategically important technologies and support for businesses, acts as a magnet for global talent and private sector investment.
We will enhance innovation strength across our portfolio and with renewed focus on driving forward dynamic collaborations across UKRI. This agile, vibrant and creative environment is key to increasing economy-wide research and development investment towards 2.4% of GDP and beyond, and to raising UK growth and productivity.
Over the next three years, we are increasing our innovation spend by 66% to make the UK the best place in the world to innovate, invest and grow a business, a global hub for innovation. With a budget of more than £1 billion a year by 2024 to 2025, aligned with our council’s investments, Innovate UK will deliver the priorities set out in its action plan for business innovation and strategic delivery plan and the ambitions in the government’s UK Innovation Strategy.
We will strengthen connectivity across UKRI, maximise the impact of our core investment in commercialising research and innovation, and support best practice in programme design and delivery through our new UKRI Research Commercialisation Funding Framework and Research Commercialisation Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
A new harmonised UKRI Impact Acceleration Account programme will invest £118 million in more than 60 institutions across the UK. This funding will empower research teams to explore the best impact routes for the outcomes of their research, including commercialisation and business partnerships.
As a key element of our plans, we will develop a series of strategic partnerships across UKRI to drive economic growth through business innovation and commercialisation. These will enable high impact activity across the UK’s innovative business base and research system to address some of the most pressing UK and global challenges, such as Building a Green Future.
We will also expand programmes at the interface between business and academia, such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research, enabling UK industry to build on areas of science and technology strength.
We will anchor and further incentivise business and university collaboration, supporting the development of vibrant research and innovation clusters across the UK, building on successful programmes such as Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) and the business element of quality-related research (QR) funding.
We will coordinate this activity with our talent offer to ensure that businesses can access the talent, skills and knowhow required, and that the whole system is deeply connected so that ideas can rapidly find solutions and solutions can find markets.
Deliver the skills, finance and collaboration opportunities needed to boost private sector investment
In 2022 to 2023, we will work across the system to support innovation through aligning research council opportunities and Innovate UK investments, including:
- fostering connections and collaboration by expanding the role of Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), increasing core funding to £15 million per year
- delivering the activities set out in plan for action such as Innovate UK Edge and the Smart Grant programme, alongside our council’s strategic delivery plans. This will include aligning with our talent programmes to support career path diversity and ensure the skills and connectivity needed to deliver our innovation plans are being developed.
We will also work with partners across the globe to deliver programmes of international collaboration on innovation, including:
- maximising the impact of the UK’s Presidency of TAFTIE, the European Network of Innovation Agencies, in 2022
- providing over £10 million of innovation support through international bilateral and multilateral activities with partner countries, including £6.5 million through the EUREKA eurostars programme within Innovate UK.
Accelerate translation, commercialisation and knowledge exchange
In 2022 to 2023, we will leverage new and existing research commercialisation opportunities including:
- publishing our new Vision and Ambition Statement for Research Commercialisation, to highlight how we will foster an open, inclusive and collaborative culture across the research and innovation system, bringing research organisations, businesses, investors and policymakers more closely together to commercialise ideas
- implementing a UKRI-wide Research Commercialisation Funding Framework to support applicants with a more harmonised application and support offering
- developing our partnership with British Business Bank (BBB) and publishing UKRI-BBB data analytics on our support for early-stage innovative companies to further develop our understanding of how companies access the capital they need to develop and scale up
- building our internal capability and enhancing cross-discipline connectivity between UKRI programmes, including improving guidance and signposting, and improving collaboration between council schemes so that support is available at the right time
- implementing our research commercialisation monitoring framework to further build our understanding of what works to inform future interventions, and effectively capture and demonstrate the value of our interventions.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will measure:
- trends in the amount of research and innovation funding and collaborations awarded to specific industries to monitor new or emerging industrial opportunities
- new commercial skills, collaborations and partnerships and intellectual property supported by our funding to monitor how we are strengthening innovation, entrepreneurial and commercialisation capabilities
- innovation outcomes as collected via our monitoring processes, to identify how we are increasing prosperity across the UK.
Highlight: Knowledge Exchange to support innovation and commercialisation
HEIF, delivered through Research England and in partnership with the Office for Students, supports higher education institutions (HEIs) in England to work with business, public and third sector organisations, community bodies and the wider public, to exchange knowledge and increase the economic and societal benefit from their work.
The Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) builds on the capabilities developed from HEIF by supporting HEIs to collaborate and share best practice in commercialisation through competitive projects, which aims to strengthen the contribution of English HEIs to productivity and economic growth.
Case study: scaling up innovative businesses with Innovate UK EDGE
In May 2022, we published our interim summative assessment of Innovate UK EDGE which found the Scaleup Programme delivers a high return on investment, whether measured as employment-based gross value added (realising £12.20 in value for every £1 spent on the programme) or profitability-based gross value added (realising £25.60 for every £1 spent).
It has also created eight full time equivalent jobs on average gross, directly or indirectly, per participating company, and 86% believe that this programme was intrinsic to the growth they witnessed. The programme has empowered innovation-driven businesses to grow at pace and scale, by providing dedicated innovation and growth specialist support.
Objective five: world-class impacts
Focusing the UK’s world-class science and innovation to target global and national challenges, create and exploit tomorrow’s technologies, and build the high-growth business sectors of the future
Our commitment to connecting world-class ideas with world-class innovation provides the foundations for world-class impacts, securing the UK’s competitive advantage in emerging technologies. We will create opportunities to direct our world-class science and innovation at global and national challenges, create and exploit tomorrow’s technologies, and build high-growth business sectors of the future to enable transformative change and for UK businesses to expand global markets.
Over the next three years, we will harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges that span disciplines and impact many sectors of the economy. Building on decades of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) investment underpinning the UK’s leadership position within and across the seven technology families set out in the government’s UK Innovation Strategy, we will increase investment in developing and adopting technologies over the next three years through our nine councils, including developing a programme to derive strategic advantage from high potential technologies.
We will increase our annual investment in the seven technology families, from discovery research through to adoption and diffusion:
- advanced materials and manufacturing
- artificial intelligence, digital and advanced computing
- bioinformatics and genomics
- engineering biology
- electronics, photonics and quantum
- energy and environment technologies
- robotics and smart machines.
We will take a strategic and coordinated approach to our investment in technologies, to respond with agility to emerging opportunities, leverage additional investment through collaborations with businesses, other government departments and other funders, and create industries of the future rooted in world-leading clusters, including driving global competitiveness in the creative industries in line with the sector vision.
Building upon and leveraging existing council-led investments, we will invest at least a further £185 million to support five strategic themes:
- building a greener future
- securing better health, ageing and wellbeing
- tackling infections
- building a secure and resilient world
- creating opportunities, improving outcomes.
This collective funding will target interventions that capture synergies from our existing investments whilst attracting investment from other funders.
Address major national and global challenges
In 2022 to 2023, we will support our five strategic themes, capturing synergies from wider investment across UKRI and leveraging support from other sources, including developing plans for longer-term investments (enabled by at least £185 million of further investment from 2023 to 2024 and to 2024 to 2025), through:
- building a green future: addressing environmental and net zero challenges in all sectors of the economy, including amplifying investments to mitigate greenhouse gas issues and support the adaptation and monitoring of climate change
- securing better health, ageing and wellbeing: advancing people’s health and promoting wellbeing to maintain prosperous, productive and resilient communities throughout the UK and globally, supporting the UK Life Sciences Vision by addressing challenges around ageing, living with multiple conditions, mental health and health inequalities
- tackling infections: protecting and enhancing our health, food supply and natural capital by working in partnership across UKRI, government departments and industry to build knowledge and capabilities to detect and disrupt the emergence and spread of human, animal and plant diseases, accelerate new vaccines and therapeutics (securing the legacy of the COVID-19 research response) and halt the ‘slow motion pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance
- building a secure and resilient world: harnessing research and innovation to strengthen our security and resilience, reduce vulnerability, and increase our level of preparedness and response to and recovery from shocks, from environmental and human-induced hazards
- creating opportunities, improving outcomes: including working collaboratively and across UKRI to understand the causes and effects of place-based disparities, promoting prosperity through our work to drive prosperity across regions and the UK, and working with policymakers and researchers to identify key gaps on regional inequalities though centres of excellence like the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health.
We will also support businesses to deliver impact in key challenge areas through continuing to deliver the UKRI Challenge Fund. Through strong collaborations between industry, academia and the public sector, the 20 challenges have already successfully leveraged significant co-investment.
Harness the opportunities from tomorrow’s technologies
In 2022 to 2023, we will champion the adoption and diffusion of the seven priority technology families as outlined in the government’s UK Innovation Strategy, including:
- establishing the Seven Technology Families Development Fund
- convening multi-agency discussions, identifying mutual priorities and shaping collaborative activities in transformative technologies, for example by delivering on the Declaration on AI and Statement on Quantum, working with UK and US funders and government partners
- developing the next phase of the National Quantum Technologies Programme, working through Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Strategic Advisory Board and Programme Board, identifying investment in future hubs and accelerating the market pull for emergent quantum technologies aligned to the programme
- developing a programme to derive strategic advantage from high potential technologies.
Transform sectors that are key to the future economy
In 2022 to 2023, we will explore opportunities to leverage support and drive new and existing sectors such as life sciences, space and the design and creative industries sectors, including through our work to deliver on our strategic themes and harness opportunities from tomorrow’s technologies.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will:
- develop a case study bank revealing the circumstances under which UKRI-supported research and innovation has helped address economic and societal challenges, including (but not limited to):
- building a greener future
- securing better health, ageing and wellbeing
- tackling infections
- building a secure and resilient world
- creating opportunities, improving outcomes
- develop a case study bank revealing the circumstances under which UKRI-supported research and innovation has helped increase prosperity through driving economic growth and productivity, enabling economic participation, protecting or increasing economic capacity, improving resilience to economic shocks, avoiding economic costs and supporting regional economic growth
- develop a case study bank revealing the circumstances under which UKRI-supported research and innovation has helped improve lives in other ways, including through improving health, increasing wellbeing, enriching culture, enabling inclusion, enhancing social capital, increasing security, improving safety and protecting the environment
- measure the amount and type of funding awarded to, and the outputs and outcomes from, research and innovation projects that relate to the seven priority technology families to monitor how effectively we are supporting tomorrow’s technologies.
Highlight: creating a quantum-enabled economy for the UK
Construction work has begun on the £93 million National Quantum Computing Centre. EPSRC and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) are supporting the centre to lead the development, application and commercialisation of quantum computing, accelerate the growth of UK business and the quantum supply chain, and drive the development of the world’s first quantum computer.
This work forms part of the internationally acclaimed National Quantum Technologies Programme, which is building competitive strategic advantage for the UK in quantum technologies. The programme focuses on stimulating market growth and unleashing innovation, enhancing the UK’s research and technology capability, and building assets at scale across the UK.
Highlight: delivering the National Space Strategy
With our expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and strong links to space-technology businesses, we will continue the drive for the UK to become one of the world’s leading space economies and inspire the next generation of science leaders.
STFC is working across UKRI, the government, the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency to deliver the national space strategy. The National Satellite Test Facility, the UK’s first purpose built, comprehensive set of large-scale space test facilities at a single location, due to be completed this financial year, will be available on a commercial basis to all space organisations based in the UK and internationally.
Objective six: a world-class organisation
Making UKRI the most efficient, effective and agile organisation it can be
Building on our strong foundations, we are transforming UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to become a more agile, responsive organisation, maximising our support for research and innovation. We will further integrate our capability to maximise the impact we deliver collectively. We will continue to create an empowering environment where we optimise effective decision-making and responsibility, support talent, increase collaboration and remove barriers to getting things done.
We are determined to make our organisation and its activities as efficient and effective as possible, driving down bureaucracy and cost. We are confident that we can deliver our strategic objectives and the activities described in our delivery plans within the operational expenditure targets we have been set.
Over the next three years, we will capitalise on new ways of working and on major transformation of our data systems to reduce our business-as-usual operational expenditure from £291 million in 2022 to 2023 to £220 million by 2024 to 2025, to be as effective and efficient as possible whilst delivering commitments in this plan and our councils’ strategic delivery plans.
We will implement a streamlined operating model, light on bureaucracy, agile and responsive and focused on increased collaboration across UKRI. We will continue to simplify, and integrate our processes, systems and data and remove bureaucracy in our funding processes to deliver maximum impact for our communities and the public. We will ensure these improvements capture the full benefits of the recommendations from the Grant Review and Tickell Review.
Our work to increase efficiency, effectiveness and agility will facilitate increased connectivity and shared data access across UKRI, facilitating collaboration across the organisation and with our partners to maximise the impact of our investments.
We will draw on our collective expertise to capture new opportunities and tackle challenges, engaging widely with our stakeholders and partners. These actions will strengthen our world-class system to ensure wider impact for our society, economy and environment.
Efficient and effective working across UKRI is critically dependent on high quality communication and engagement both within UKRI and between UKRI and the many stakeholders we serve. We will deliver a new communications and engagement strategy to support the new UKRI strategy, ensuring that we champion a creative and dynamic research and innovation system, and help to embed research and innovation in our society and economy.
We will strengthen our emphasis on telling compelling stories about the people who make research and innovation happen and on making visible the impacts of their work.
Empower talented people to collaborate and thrive
In 2022 to 2023, we will work collaboratively and strategically across the organisation to deliver a comprehensive people plan to meet the needs of our new operating model. This will support organisational change, enable everyone to maximise their talent and build our future workforce. It will include:
- supporting UKRI to deliver the organisational change set out in this plan. In partnership with UK Shared Business Services, we will improve HR systems and processes and prepare for implementing the new Enterprise Resource Planning solution. We will further strengthen our resourcing and recruitment model and refine our redeployment capability to support efficiency commitments
- embedding a strategic workforce planning framework that delivers the changing talent needs of UKRI, building a pipeline of skills and talent to ensure we can deliver against our priorities and embed opportunity across the organisation. We will identify succession and talent interventions for all critical roles, review performance management to ensure that it links to reward, learning and development, and talent frameworks, and map career pathways for future key and critical roles
- creating a compelling employee offer to ensure UKRI is best placed to attract, develop and retain the highest quality staff. We will ensure that our pay and reward system is consistent and transparent, substantially improve our learning and development offer, and set clear standards for our leaders, support the mental and physical wellbeing of our staff, and deliver an ongoing programme of employee engagement across UKRI to ensure that staff views are heard and responded to and help streamline our systems and processes
- ensuring that UKRI is a more equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace, building creativity, innovation and effectiveness. We will publish our workforce equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan setting out how we will take an evidence-based approach to diversify our workforce and catalyse inclusion across UKRI, and build EDI capability and confidence in our workforce.
We will also refresh our communications and engagement strategy to fully align with our five-year strategy, including:
- developing our programme of stakeholder engagement to foster two-way discussion between UKRI and our communities. We will also strengthen the join-up and coordination of engagement across the organisation, sharing insight and intelligence so we can better serve our communities
- delivering excellent targeted communications to support UKRI’s operations, including grant calls, and supporting our communities to understand how UKRI works and how they can contribute
- building on the success of our existing internal communication channels to deepen staff engagement with our organisation, its purpose and impacts, bringing our people to the front of the messages we highlight
- working increasingly with analyst and data teams to communicate the impacts of our investments and strengthen our proactive communications work.
Make UKRI an efficient, effective, and agile organisation
In 2022 to 2023, we will continue to improve how we work to drive greater efficiency, collaboration and agility across UKRI, harnessing and optimising our internal capabilities so we can deliver more together, including:
- embarking on an ambitious programme of work to shape and deliver our new operating model, enabling us to reduce duplication and reimagine how we operate, including implementation of recommendations within the Grant Review
- integrating our existing Reforming our Business portfolio into this work, reducing the portfolio to achieve the greatest efficiencies for UKRI. We will align and optimise our processes and systems including IT infrastructures, drive efficiency through cost modelling, and reduce bureaucracy making it easier for researchers and innovators to apply for funding opportunities
- as part of our Simpler, Better Funding programme, which will deliver a single funding service, we will work across councils to continue to develop and pilot the system. We aim to deliver initial operating capability by December 2023, with full implementation by March 2025
- continuing to operate as a responsible organisation, ensuring our governance and management systems are robust and resilient and meet good governance and ethical best practice. We will strengthen governance, the management of information and the way in which UKRI is directed and led, enabling effective decision-making and building a sustainable business. We will improve compliance and reporting by implementing our new Corporate Governance and Risk management system
- enhancing our reporting, analysis and data-driven decision-making ability by creating one UKRI-wide data repository across grants, HR, and finance, and improving our data quality. We will enable greater collaboration by introducing a mechanism to enable data to flow between systems more efficiently and introduce a new enterprise resource management system through the Services for HR, Accounting, Reporting and Procurement programme
- improving our resilience and ability to meet the challenges of a changing threat landscape by transforming our approach to information security tools and capabilities, and working to ensure UKRI is compliant in personnel, cyber, physical data and information security. We will continue to bring together the legacy council IT infrastructure and support services to ensure UKRI is a single, effective and integrated organisation
- supporting the delivery of our priorities through our portfolio, programme and project delivery capability, including providing support for change management, continuous improvement and the development of major investments through the Business Case Hub.
Catalyse change and impact through partnership and leadership
In 2022 to 2023, we will embed environmental sustainability across our work and estates, delivering on our environmental sustainability strategy and action plans. This includes:
- identifying potential pathways to reaching net zero by 2040. We will innovate within our estate and infrastructure to lower our carbon emissions and identify opportunities for improvement, including:
- exploring options for increasing our use of renewable energy, reducing energy demand, reducing our resource use and waste, and protecting and enhancing biodiversity on our estate. We will also explore opportunities for reducing, in the longer-term, the emissions from marine and polar science research ships and aircraft
- launching a new cross-UKRI fund to support the decarbonisation of the UKRI science and office estate and infrastructure over the next three years. Delivering on the Net Zero Strategy, the Carbon Zero Fund will support projects to develop solutions to reduce energy demand and generate renewable and low carbon power for delivery of UKRI science and operations
- collaborating with higher education institutes to co-develop a set of principles to incentivise more environmentally sustainable practices in the research and innovation community.
We will also champion ‘responsible procurement’. In addition to embedding, improving and realising the benefits from our procurement operating model, streamlining current operations, providing robust reporting, and continuously improving the service through automation, we will incorporate a set of principles to support environmentally sustainable, safe and ethical supply chains, providing a charter and toolkit to guide our staff and suppliers.
Monitoring overall goals progress
To monitor our progress towards our overall goals, we will measure:
- our reduction in operational expenditure (OpEx) and OpEx full-time equivalents (FTE) to meet our targets and ensure increased efficiency
- average time to complete grant peer review, and applicant satisfaction, to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of our processes
- staff engagement through regular pulse surveys to monitor how we are developing, empowering and supporting our staff
- quarterly and year-end financial positions to ensure we are within 1% of our P6 core capital forecast and are managing within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spend limits
- the breadth and variety of people who engage with our website, funding competitions and communications and outreach activities to monitor how we are improving accessibility and inclusion through our funding opportunities, communications, engagement and partnerships
- the delivery and performance of our work programme to shape and deliver our new operating model, and reform our business, to ensure we are effectively moving towards a more efficient, collaborative and agile UKRI
- delivery and impacts of the recommendations from external reviews of UKRI and the wider landscape to ensure we are improving our efficiency and enabling effectiveness of the research and innovation system
- delivery of our environment sustainability strategy and the environmental impact of our estate to identify how we are progressing against our environmental sustainability goals.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) investments make up the largest public expenditure on research and innovation in the UK.
Our total investment for 2022 to 2023 is £7,904 million. Note this figure excludes, Official Development Assistance (ODA), financial transactions, Department for Education strategic priorities grant and managed programmes where funding is delivered by UKRI on behalf of government departments, with the exception of the Department for Transport Zero Emission Programme, delivered by Innovate UK.
In line with our ambition to be an efficient organisation, in 2022 to 2023 we will spend no more than:
- £368 million on our operating costs
- £291 million relating to the business-as-usual costs of delivering our portfolio
- £77 million on our ‘reforming our business’ programmes, including investment in transforming our legacy council IT infrastructure.
Additional details can be found in the 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025 UKRI budget allocations explainer and in upcoming council strategic delivery plans.
The UKRI £7,904 million total budget consists of:
- core research and innovation budgets: £4,881 million
- Collective Talent funding: £599 million
- infrastructure: £868 million
- new cross-UKRI strategic programmes: £100 million
- existing cross-UKRI strategic programmes: £1,222 million
- centrally managed funding: £330 million.
|Budget type||2022 to 2023 (£ million)||2023 to 2024 (£ million)||2024 to 2025 (£ million)|
|Core research and innovation budgets, of which:||4,881||5,553||5,999|
|Research and innovation budgets (existing time-limited commitments)||140||135||151|
|Collective Talent Funding||599||670||726|
|Carbon Zero Fund||8||16||24|
|Digital Research Infrastructures||17||42||70|
|Existing infrastructure investments||174||134||62|
|UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)||29||25||75|
|World-class labs, of which:||316||368||386|
|Capital for international subscriptions||49||48||48|
|Research capital investment fund (RCIF), consisting of Higher Education Research Capital (HERC) England and HEI
Research Capital England
|New cross-UKRI strategic programmes||100||247||464|
|Other new cross-UKRI strategic programmes||97||216||398|
|Existing cross-UKRI strategic programmes||1,222||795||476|
|Fund for International Collaboration||40||15||5|
|UKRI Challenge Fund||457||252||96|
|Strategic Priorities Fund||190||155||85|
|Strength in Places Fund||71||76||62|
|Other cross-UKRI strategic programmes||50||69||78|
|Dual support for existing strategic programmes
(previously the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund)
|Centrally managed funding||330||231||195|
The figures provided in this plan are in line with the 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025 budget allocations for UKRI and are broken down by our budgeting and reporting categories.
Figures are indicative and may vary over the course of the three-year period due to budget adjustments made as a part of on-going financial management and planning processes to maximise the use of our total funding.
Dual support for existing strategic programmes
Dual support for existing strategic programmes was previously funded through the National Productivity Investment Fund.
Core research and innovation budgets
Council core research and innovation budgets as shown do not include funding for existing time limited commitments, infrastructure, strategic programmes and collective talent. Funding for these budgets will be delivered by councils but has been excluded in core council research and innovation figures within this plan.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) core research and innovation budgets figures include resource funding for the Antarctic Logistics and Infrastructure partition, to support the UK’s scientific operations in the Antarctic, rising from £44.6 million in 2022 to 2023 to £52.3 million in 2024 to 2025.
NERC’s world-class labs figure includes capital funding for the Antarctic Logistics and Infrastructure partition, to support the UK’s scientific operations in the Antarctic, rising from £7.3 million in 2022 to 2023 to £7.6 million in 2024 to 2025.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) budget reflects increases in international subscriptions, including the transfer from the Medical Research Council of responsibility for funding European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and provision for the impact of rising energy costs on operating domestic facilities.
Research England figures are for financial years 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025. Allocated budgets for academic years 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025 will vary and be announced separately. This allocation will hold the balance of dual support at 64p (this currently excludes ODA funding which is to be confirmed, along with dual support for new strategic programmes).
Innovate UK was allocated £2.6 billion across 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to 2025 in Spending Review 2021. This includes funding for activities accounted for in ‘existing time limited commitments’, including a £118 million Zero Emissions Freight Vehicles programme, of which £80 million delivered in 2024 to 2025, that Innovate UK will deliver on behalf of the Department for Transport.
Research and innovation budgets (existing time-limited commitments)
Existing time-limited commitments include funding for COVID-19 interventions and one-off committed project spend.
Collective Talent funding
Collective Talent funding includes an additional £8.6 million in 2024 to 2025 as part of a £117 million total government investment to create 1,000 new artificial intelligence PhDs through Centres for Doctoral Training, as announced in the Spring Statement 2022.
Research capital investment fund (RCIF)
Equivalent funding for the devolved administrations is directly allocated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The totals of the individual UKRI budget lines sum to more than UKRI’s total funding to mitigate the risk of underspends and ensure best use of available funding.
All figures exclude funding for ODA, financial transactions, BEIS managed programmes (excluding the Department for Transport Zero Emission Programme that will be delivered by Innovate UK) and Department for Education strategic priorities grant.