UK Research & Innovation

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UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) directs research funding. It was established in Apr.2018 under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, and brings together the current 7 Research Councils, plus Innovate UK, and the Research and Knowledge Exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFC), in one unified body.
ToDo: See this page "How to describe..." for some info text, and this page re info in each council'.)



  • Apr.2018:

Established by the (Higher Education and Research Act 2017), UKRI brought together 7 existing Research Councils, Innovate UK and the Research & Knowledge Exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) into one unified body.[1][2] Working in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities and govt, its mission is to foster research and development within the UK and create a positive "impact" – "push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding", "deliver economic impact" and "create social and cultural impact"[2]. UKRI was created following a report by Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, who recommended the merger in order to increase integrative cross-disciplinary research[3].

ToDo: See this page "How to describe..." for some info text, and this page re info in each council'.)
  • 2009: UKRI: UK Research & Innovation: due to govt departmental re-organisation, RCUK metamorphosed into UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).
  • Jun.2009: the research councils reported to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills as the making of higher education and innovation policy (from the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills) was merged back with business policy making (Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform).
  • 2008: SSC: RCUK Shared Services Centre Ltd was created as a separate company to share administrative duties and cut costs.
  • Jun.2007: the research councils reported to the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills as the making of innovation policy was merged with the making of policy for universities and skills training, and separated from industrial policy under the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform.
  • Apr.2007: STFC: Science & Technology Facilities Council was formed as a new Research Council from the combination of the Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC), and the transfer of responsibility for nuclear physics from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to provide access for UK scientists to national and international research facilities.[14][15], Science & Technology Facilities CouncilWikipedia-W.svg

  • Apr.2007: STFC: Science & Technology Facilities Council: formed by the merger of CCLRC with PPARC, and the nuclear physics portion of EPSRC, so that a single organisation was responsible for providing UK scientists with access to large scientific facilities in the UK and elsewhere in the world, including CERN, ESA and ESO.[2]
  • 2006: the research councils reported to the Office of "Science & Innovation" instead of "Science & Technology", as the policy focus switched from technology objects to innovation process, although it was still within the Department of Trade & Industry.
  • 2005: AHRC: Arts & Humanities Research Council was established to bring research funding in the arts and humanities into line with that for other disciplines. It was created from the former Arts & Humanities Research Board, which had been managed by the British Academy since 1998.
  • 2002: RCUK: Research Councils UK was founded as an umbrella organisation to bring the 7 Research Councils together, for coordinating them, responsible for funding and coordinating academic research for the arts, humanities, science and engineering. ToDo:
  • 1995: the research councils reported to the Office of Science & Technology in the Department of Trade & Industry as govt science policy became more linked to industrial policy.
  • Apr.1995: CCLRC: Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils was spun out of EPSRC, separating responsibility for laboratories from those for the allocation of university research grants.[13] [x x]Archive-org-sm.svg, ReportsArchive-org-sm.svg

The CCLRC was formed from the laboratories of the previous Science & Engineering Research Council. It operated at 3 locations: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Didcot in Oxfordshire, incorporating the ISIS neutron source Daresbury Laboratory. at Daresbury in Cheshire Chilbolton Observatory, near Stockbridge in Hampshire.

  • Apr.1994: SERC: Science & Engineering Research Council was split into:
    • EPSRC: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council;
    • BBSRC: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council.[1] (... At the same time the biological science activities of SERC were merged with the AFRC to form the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).)
    • PPARC: Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council, to further separate innovation-orientated engineering from pure research into particle physics and astronomy.[12], ReportsArchive-org-sm.svg
  • 1983: AFRC: Agricultural & Food Research Council: ARC changed its focus to outputs rather than methods, becoming AFRC. responsible for funding and managing scientific and technological developments in farming and horticulture.[2]
  • 1981: SERC: Science & Engineering Research Council: SRC became SERC, as the emphasis in policy on innovation rather than pure science increased.
  • Oct.1970: DTI: Department of Trade & Industry was formed by the merger of the the Ministry of Technology with the Board of Trade. Responsibility for military aircraft procurement devolved to the short-lived Ministry of Aviation Supply.[3]
  • Jan.1967: CACST: Central Advisory Council for Science & Technology was a Cabinet-level body established to advise the govt on the most effective national strategy for the use and development of scientific and technological resources, and to avoid an institutional split between science and technology consequent upon the formation of the Department of Education & Science's Council for Scientific Policy (CSP) and the Ministry of Technology's Advisory Council on Technology.[4] CACST disappeared after GE-1970.
  • 1965: Under the Department of Education & Science, the following research councils were formed, bringing the number of Research Councils to 5: Medicine, Agriculture, Natural Environment, Science, and Social Science, divided into disciplines that were not expected to collaborate.
    • SRC: Science Research Council: incorporated most of the science part of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (1915), including the Appleton Laboratory (1924), the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. It took control of the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory and the Daresbury Laboratory from the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science.
    • NERC: Natural Environment Research Council: incorporated the Nature Conservancy (1949) and British Geological Survey (1832). (The Nature Conservancy was superseded by the Nature Conservancy Council in 1973, (Nature Conservancy Council Act 1973)
    • SSRC: Social Science Research Council.
  • 1964: DoES: Department of Education & Science was formed to align scientific research with education.
  • Oct.1964: The Ministry of Technology was formed "to guide and stimulate a major national effort to bring advanced technology and new processes into industry".[5] (Science & Technology Act 1965)
  • 1963: The Committee of Enquiry into the Organisation of Civil Science, chaired by Burke TrendWikipedia-W.svg, looked into the growth in numbers of science and engineering graduates, and the rising expenditures of civil and military research.[6] It recommended that the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (1915) should be divided into the:
    • Science Research Council (scientific research);
    • Natural Resources Research Council (industrial innovation), to be transferred to the Minister of Science's portfolio in order to ensure a smooth transition through the linear model of innovationWikipedia-W.svg.
    • Industrial Research & Development Authority.
  • 1957: NIRNS: National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science was formed to operate the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory and, in 1962, the Daresbury Laboratory.
  • 1949: NRDC: National Research Development Corporation was created to provide financial assistance for the development of inventions. National Research Development CorporationWikipedia-W.svg
  • 1949: NC: Nature Conservancy was established as a research council by Royal Charter. It established a small network of research stations, which became sites for significant basic and applied ecological research.[7]
  • 1931: ARC: Agricultural Research Council was established, incorporating 12 major agricultural research institutes that had been created in England and Wales in 1914.
  • 1924: RRS: Radio Research Station was established in Ditton Park; it would later become the Appleton Laboratory.
  • Apr.1920:
    MRC: the Medical Research Council was created as a corporate body by royal charter to succeed the Medical Research Committee, following the Haldane Report.[8] The MRC's function was to promote the balanced development of medical and related biological research in the UK, for which it received public funding.[9] Its resources were concentrated in a small number of central laboratories, and a large number of research units associated with universities and hospitals.[10] Medical Research CouncilWikipedia-W.svg,
  • 1918: The Haldane Report, chaired by Richard HaldaneWikipedia-W.svg, recommended that govt departments should, before making policy, undertake more research and oversee that research; and that general research should be governed by autonomous councils free from political pressure.[11]
  • 1915: DSIR: the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research was established as a govt department, in response to claims about the poor state of British manufacturing in comparison to Germany's. DSIR distributed grants, operated laboratories, and made policy.
  • Aug.1913: MRC: Medical Research Committee was established to administer the Medical Research Fund, provided under the National Insurance Act 1911 for medical research.[8] The MRC arose out of the work of the Royal Commission into the Relations of Human and Animal Tuberculosis (1901-1911),[12][13] which recommended the creation of a permanent medical research body.[14]

Govt Funding of Science

  • 1850: Royal Society was allocated funds to award individual grants.
  • 1832: British Geological Survey was created.
  • 1675: Royal Observatory was established in Greenwich, funded by the govt.


  1. ^ New vaccines centre to protect UK from pandemic threats. The UK’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre represents a major commercial opportunity, and a new front line in the nation’s defence against global pandemic threats. University of Oxford, Dec.03.2018.
  2. ^ "The Agricultural Research Council.", KN Burns, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, Jan.1973.
  3. ^ History of the Ministry of Defence and the Old War Office. A brief history of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Old War Office from the 16th century. Promotional material,, Dec.10.2012.
  4. ^ Zuckerman Archive: Central Advisory Council for Science and Technology. University of East Anglia Archives. Accessed Oct.01.2020.
  5. ^ Ministry of Technology, 1964-1975. The Library, Modern Records Centre, Warwick University. Accessed Oct.01.2020.
  6. ^ Trend Committee (Report). Hansard, Nov.19.1963.
  7. ^ "Ecologists and Environmental Politics: A History of Contemporary Ecology.", Stephen Bocking, Yale University Press, London, 1997, ISBN: 978-1943665648
  8. ^ a b What we do: History. Medical Research Council. Original archived on Jan.22.2018.
  9. ^ Records created or inherited by the Medical Research Council. The National Archives. Original archived on Oct.26.2009.
  10. ^ "Scientists in Whitehall", Philip Gummett, Manchester University Press, Jan.01.1980, ISBN: 978-0719007910
  11. ^ The 'Haldane Principle' and other invented traditions in science policy. David Edgerton, History & Policy, Jul.02.2009.
  12. ^ "The Royal Commission on Tuberculosis.", The British Medical Journal, Mar.07.1896.
  13. ^ "The Report of The Royal Commission on Tuberculosis.", The British Medical Journal, Apr.27.1895.
  14. ^ Origins of the MRC. Medical Research Council. Original archived on Feb.20.2002.