Universities Minister highlights economic importance of university research on visit to Research England

Universities Minister highlights economic importance of university research on visit to Research England

4 January 2019

Research England welcomed Chris Skidmore, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to its offices in Bristol today.

The Minister commented:

“I was very pleased to visit Research England today and to talk to staff. Universities’ research and knowledge exchange work makes an important contribution to the UK economy, helping to drive our modern Industrial Strategy and to ensure every part of the country benefits.

“The funding that Research England provides is essential to underpinning universities’ important economic and social contribution.”

As well as touring the office and talking to staff, the Minister met with Research England’s Executive Chair David Sweeney and the senior team for a detailed discussion about the £2bn of public funding that Research England distributes each year to universities, which is key to delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy and meeting its target of investing 2.4% of GDP in research and development by 2027.

They also discussed the role of Research England within the wider UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) organisation, including its leadership of UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund which directly drives regional growth.

David Sweeney said:

“The universities that Research England funds have a vital role in delivering the government’s priorities such as the Industrial Strategy and regional growth. The Minister was very interested to discuss this with us in detail, including how our funding incentivises universities to contribute to these national priority areas, and helps them lever additional investment from business partners.

“I look forward to continuing our productive relationship with the Minister, so that we can not only challenge universities to play a key role in delivering the economic and social benefit that the government wants to see, but also to reflect back to him insight from universities that can inform his thinking.”

For further information contact Sophie Mason, Head of Communications, 0117 905 7612


  1. Images of the visit are available on request.
  2. 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.
    Follow us @ResEngland or visit our website.