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Research landscape in the USA

The UK and the US have a strong portfolio of investigator-led collaborations which the UKRI USA team seeks to build on by fostering an open, honest and productive dialogue with US research funders and their research communities.

Examples of the types of collaborations include:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – US National Science Foundation (NSF) Memorandum of Understanding: UKRI and NSF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate excellent joint research and innovation activities. It allows for a collaborative approach to the design and implementation of peer review with the aim of avoiding ‘double jeopardy’ and ensuring a simplified and flexible process for researchers wishing to apply for UK-US collaborative research funding.
  • Workshops: UKRI USA helps to build relationships between UK and US researchers in priority areas where UKRI see strong potential for funder collaboration. For example, drawing in UK and US research funders, our team co-organised and co-sponsored a workshop in social and behavioural epigenetics with the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), UK Science and Innovation Network in the US, and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • International Placement Scheme (IPS): By partnering with our US partners, UK early career researchers, doctoral-level research assistants and doctoral students funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and ESRC can apply for fellowship placement to access the internationally renowned US Library of Congress, Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas, Huntington Library, National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, or Yale Center for British Art.

Why UK Research and Innovation engages with the USA

The US is a research powerhouse: 40% of the total R&D spend in the world takes place in the US. It employs 70% of the world’s Nobel Prize winners, and is home to 75% of the world’s top 40 universities. Although the UK hosts 0.9% of the world’s population, it is second to only the US in the number of top 40 universities that it boasts. When it comes to research, the UK has enjoyed an active and productive research relationship with the US for many years, and UKRI remains the partner of choice for collaborative activities.

The US is the largest investor (both public and private sector) in research and innovation in the world. It maintains world-leading universities, researchers and facilities through an extensive network of federal funders, state funders, industry, foundations and university endowments. Federal investment in research usually enjoys broad cross-party political support and allows us to work with key federal partners such as the National Science Foundation (NSF).

For further information please see our frequently asked questions.