Research England to invest £2bn into universities in 2018-19

Research England to invest £2bn into universities in 2018-19

12 April 2018

Research England has agreed budgets for the recurrent funding of research and knowledge exchange for academic year 2018-19. We have also agreed capital budgets for the financial year 2018-19.

There is an overall increase of £70m available in 2018-19, enabling higher education institutions (HEIs) in England to deliver on the government’s industrial strategy and tackle global, national and local challenges.

The following budgets are being increased:

  • An additional £25m for knowledge exchange through Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), enabling universities to increase their contributions to deliver commercialisation and working with business to meet Industrial Strategy priorities;
  • An additional £20m for the postgraduate research degree supervision element of quality-related research (QR) funding, supporting universities to develop the next generation of researchers and protecting the health of the talent pipeline through postgraduate study and into research and the wider economy;
  • An additional £10m for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) element of QR, supporting investment in cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges of economic development and wellbeing faced by developing countries;
  • An additional £6m to contribute to the charity research element of QR, providing additional support for research that universities carry out on behalf of charities.

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said:

“We are delighted to announce funding levels for the coming year. The increased public investment in universities reflects their central role in delivering economic growth and creating social prosperity for the country.

We see universities as key partners in tackling global challenges, and the increased investment into GCRF reflects that. Our investment into the postgraduate pipeline will enable our higher education sector to continue to grow and attract top talent.

Achieving the government’s target of 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D by 2027 depends on universities deepening their partnerships with business, charities and other organisations. Through HEIF, and working with the Office for Students, we are committed to investing in the knowledge exchange activities that underpin R&D partnerships.”

The decisions announced today reflect guidance received from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which sets out the government priorities and total budget available for Research England in financial year 2018-19.

We have also published the terms and conditions that apply to HEIs in receipt of our funding. These terms and conditions are intended to provide continuity from the approach taken by HEFCE, and align closely to the Office for Students’ terms and conditions.


  1. As part of this announcement, we have written to all higher education institutions in receipt of Research England funding. A copy of the letter is available at:
  2. Allocations for individual institutions will be announced in early May 2018. The timing of the publication and associated embargo are to ensure that these do not occur during the pre-election period leading up to local elections on 3 May 2018.
  3. This guidance (received as an annex to allocations letter from BEIS to UK Research and Innovation) is available at
  4. Terms and conditions of Research England grant can be found at: Terms and conditions of Office for Students funding are available from
  5. HEFCE is the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the predecessor to Research England and the Office for Students.
  6. Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. We are responsible for funding, engaging with and understanding these institutions, and working with devolved funding bodies and the Office for Students to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity. We support and challenge universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. We distribute over £2.2bn to universities in England every year in the form of quality-related research (QR) funding, and via the Higher Education Innovation Fund. We are responsible for administering the Research Excellence Framework, used to inform QR funding, and for delivering the forthcoming Knowledge Exchange Framework. We also support specific activities with dedicated project funding, including the £900m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and the £100m Connecting Capability Fund. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 established Research England as a Council of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK., @ResEngland