Response to the Nurse Review of Research Councils

17 April 2015

As an essential part of the dual support system, the Research Councils are vital for supporting excellent research in the UK, playing a key role in sustaining the UK’s position as a global leader in science and research.

A major reorganisation of the Research Councils could be an expensive distraction. However, options should be kept open for considering some future restructuring and there are a number of areas in which the Research Councils could improve to become more efficient and effective.

Any proposals to amend the number of Research Councils must be supported by robust evidence and a complete cost-benefit analysis quantifying the predicted costs against any expected savings in efficiency or otherwise. A full consultation with universities and the research community about any proposals for significant change is essential.

Long-term curiosity-driven research produces the biggest economic pay-offs in the long run and comprehensive research universities lie at the heart of this success. The current balance of research funding between basic and more applied areas is about right – responsive mode grants provided by the Research Councils are of particular importance. The challenge is to ensure that future funding is both sustainable and enhances UK competitiveness.

Applying funding criteria to the Research Councils in a way that undermines excellence would weaken the UK’s international economic competitiveness.

Response to the Nurse Review of Research Councils

Related case studies

Reducing blood transfusions to lower patient risk, reduce costs and save lives

More than half a million people in the UK receive a blood transfusion each year and demand is increasing. Our ageing population, and a stringent donor selection process, mean the supply of blood is limited. 40% fewer new donors came forward last year compared with a decade ago. Recognising these challenges, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown the benefits of reducing the use of blood transfusions in intensive care and surgery.

Read more >