Shape future priorities: building a pipeline of great ideas

UKRI is committed to developing the best ideas wherever they are found. By engaging with stakeholders, we aim to ensure that our future priorities are inclusive, innovative and in touch with our communities, government and society as a whole.

To achieve this, each of UKRI’s research councils run ideas processes to engage with the research and innovation community and beyond.

The aim is to identify exciting, adventurous and potentially transformative ideas within their disciplines. 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. UKRI’s research councils work together to:

  • identify potential synergies across remits
  • develop ideas in a connected and agile way.

How you can get involved

Find out how each research council has developed initiatives to identify adventurous and exciting ideas that have the potential to be transformational.


AHRC’s Where Next scheme is to identify the most innovative ideas which have the potential to be shaped into programmes of work.

Where Next scheme.



BBSRC’s vision is to push back the frontiers of biology to deliver a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future.

BBSRC’s big ideas pipeline.



EPSRC’s vision is to identify and champion bold new research challenges at the cutting edge of engineering and physical sciences.

EPSRC’s big ideas pipeline.



ESRC’s mechanisms for horizon scanning and ideas generation are currently being reviewed.


Innovate UK

Innovate UK’s ‘Smart’ open grant funding programme supports the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas.

Future rounds of the Smart grant will be focused on supporting proposals from UK based innovative businesses that are destined for early, successful commercialisation, growth and exports.

Check if you are eligible for a Smart grant.



MRC’s mechanisms for horizon scanning and ideas generation are currently being reviewed.



NERC’s vision is to place environmental science at the heart of responsible management of our planet.

NERC’s Big Ideas pipeline.



STFC Visions aims to identify ground-breaking, early-stage concepts that have the potential to be developed into ambitious initiatives and infrastructures, transforming the research and innovation landscape and shaping the future of our economy and society.

STFC Visions


Last updated: 14 September 2023

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