Research and Engagement Funding in the UK

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Welcome to Wikiversity's Guide to Research and Engagement Funding in the UK. Here you will find out about the main institutions and mechanisms involved in UK research and engagement or knowledge transfer.

By research, we mean academic activity across the full range of disciplines from science, engineering, technology and medicine to the arts and humanities.

The term engagement is interpreted in many different ways, but here we refer to activities which involve academics at all levels (from students to professors) interacting with individuals and communities who do not currently have a formal relationship with higher education institutions [1]. This might include, for example, particular groups of young people, policymakers, small businesses or charities.

We often use the term knowledge transfer to describe engagement with business communities. However, more recently the term knowledge transfer is also used to describe interactions with not-for-profit groups (social enterprises) as well. For example, the recently formed Research Councils UK 'Knowledge Transfer and Economic Impact Group' is concerned not only with economic impact, but also social benefits of research. [2] The Arts and Humanities Research Council defines knowledge transfer as delivering economic, social and cultural benefits, and includes business, public and voluntary sectors.[3] So particularly from the perspective of those who wish to design mechanisms to stimulate engagement and knowledge transfer, there is some convergence between the two.

You can use this guide to find out more about how research is organised in the UK, and the mechanisms used to stimulate engagement between academia and other communities, for the benefit of all communities in the UK and beyond.

UK Research and Engagement: An Overview[edit]

  • How Research and Engagement Are Organised

The following organogram shows how research and engagement are funded in the UK. In general, research is funded by HM Treasury through the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and Community groups receive funding from HM Treasury through the Department for Communities and Local Government. However public groups also receive funding from local government and, in contrast to academic research, public groups are often self-organised and self-funded.

The white lines on the diagram show support for interactions between different communities. The coloured lines show financial support for research or community action. Interactions between all communities are supported by the media. For new media, especially Web 2.0 technologies, knowledge exchange can be especially two-way.


  • Office of Science and Innovation
  • Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
  • Technology Strategy Board
  • Department for Communities and Local Government

Research and Engagement Funding in the UK[edit]

   * The Higher Education Funding Councils
   * Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
   * Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
   * Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
   * Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
   * Medical Research Council (MRC)
   * National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)
   * Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
   * Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)
   * Science and Technology Facilities Council
   * Wellcome Trust

Research Policy and Engagement in Government[edit]

   * Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
   * Cabinet Office
   * Department for Children, Schools and Families
   * Department for Communities and Local Government
   * Department for Culture, Media and Sport
   * Ministry of Defence
   * Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
   * Foreign and Commonwealth Office
   * Department of Health
   * Home Office
   * Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
   * Department for International Development
   * Ministry of Justice
   * Privy Council
   * Department for Transport
   * HM Treasury
   * Department for Work and Pensions

Regional Government:

   * Northern Ireland Office
   * Scotland Office
   * Wales Office

Research and Engagement Policy in Parliament[edit]

   * House of Commons
   * House of Lords
   * House of Commons Library
   * Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Research and Engagement Policy in Academia[edit]

   * Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (Manchester)
   * Science and Technology Policy Research (Brighton)

Research and Engagement Internationally[edit]

Professional Bodies and Learned Societies[edit]

Knowledge Transfer and Engagement Delivery Mechanisms[edit]

  1. HEFCE (2006) HEFCE Special Initiative: "Beacons for Public Engagement", document 2006/49, available at
  2. RCUK (2007) About the Knowledge Transfer and Economic Impact Group available at
  3. AHRC (2007) Knowledge Transfer in the Arts and Humanities, available at