Our history

EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK. Our diverse portfolio ranges from digital technologies to clean energy, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry.

EPSRC invests in world-leading research and skills to advance knowledge and deliver a sustainable, resilient and prosperous UK. We support new ideas and transformative technologies which are the foundations of innovations that improve our economy, environment and society. In partnership and co-investing with industry, we work to deliver both national and global priorities.

Our history

EPSRC’s beginnings go back to 1965, since when it has undergone two transformations, becoming the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in 1994.


1965 to 1981: Science Research Council (SRC)

SRC was formed in 1965 to address issues highlighted by the Trend Committee to do with the organisation of civil science in the UK. Previously the Minister for Science had been responsible for defining research activities, and the Treasury made decisions about the priority for funding

1981 to 1994: Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC)

SERC was formed in 1981 to reflect the increased emphasis on engineering research. It was responsible for all publicly funded scientific engineering and research activities, including astronomy, biotechnology and biological sciences, space research and particle physics in the UK.

1994: Formation of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

SERC was split into discipline specific areas following publication of Realising our potential: a strategy for science, engineering and technology, a report presented by the Director General of the Research Councils in 1993. This resulted in the formation of EPSRC by Royal Charter in 1994. A supplemental charter was granted in 2003.
2018: formation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Established on 1 April 2018 by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, UKRI brought nine research organisations, including EPSRC, into one unified body.

20th anniversary of EPSRC

To recognise the world-leading research, people and innovation that have been supported by EPSRC over its first 20 years, a timeline of key events and investments has been created.

View the timeline on Tiki-Toki.

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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