Research England Development (RED) Fund

The Research England Development (RED) Fund helps us achieve our aims for research and knowledge exchange.

What is the RED Fund?

The RED Fund commits up to £25 million in annual funding. This money aims to drive innovation in research and knowledge exchange in higher education.

Funded projects will normally be collaborative, bringing together support from other partners including business, universities, and other public agencies.

There is normally no deadline for submitting proposals. We consider proposals at any time, and have an ongoing application and approval process. Potential bidders should read all guidance before applying.

On occasion we may also announce calls for proposals in response to specific policy priorities.

Who can apply?

The fund is open to higher education institutions formally designated for funding by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

To submit a proposal, institutions should review the guidance and email

The RED Fund approval routes

The Research England Executive group

For bids up to £500,000 the Executive Chair will approve or decline recommendations for funding projects on the basis of advice from the Research England Executive Group.

The RED Fund panel

For bids of £501k to £5m, the RED Fund panel is required to make recommendations to the Research England Executive Chair for funding. The RED Fund panel members include:

  • David Sweeney - Research England Executive Chair and RED Fund Chair
  • Dr Richard Armour - (Retiring) Secretary-General, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong
  • Dame Janet Finch - Former Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, and Honorary Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester
  • Ms Faith Wainwright - Director of Arup Group

2019 RED Fund panel dates

  • Thursday 27 June (finalised business cases to be submitted to the RED Fund panel no later than Tuesday 4 June)
  • Wednesday 20 November (finalised business cases to be submitted to the RED Fund panel no later than Monday 4 November)

Research England Council

For bids above £5m, a final decision is required from the Research England Council, where recommendations for funding are made from the RED Fund panel.

Funded projects

Funded projects are listed below. For further information, please contact the RED Fund.

University of Liverpool

Project name:
Lead higher education institution: University of Liverpool
HEI partners: Lancaster University, University of Manchester
Other key partners and investors: N8 Research Partnership, Unilever PLC, IBM, National Museums Liverpool, Sci-Tech Daresbury, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, North West Business Leadership Team, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Funding: Total RED investment: £3,630,250, total investment (which also includes partner contributions): £4,475,317
Region: North West

Prosper will develop a sector-changing approach to the development of first-time postdoctoral researchers and transform their ability to realise their full potential across multiple career paths. Co-created with a broad group of stakeholders including employers, funders, the university sector, principal investigators and postdoctoral researchers themselves it will address the UK’s economic need for a highly skilled workforce.

How the project meets the objectives of RED Fund

This need is well recognised in the Industrial Strategy and the government’s ambition to raise total investment in R&D to 2.4% adds to the demand for highly skilled employees across a broad range of sectors including creative, health, digital STEM and others. This presents a major opportunity for universities to respond by providing postdocs from both STEM and non-STEM subject areas with the necessary skills, mind-sets, values and motivations to enter a broad range of careers. RED funding will provide the basis for Prosper to be a substantial innovation with the potential to drive disruptive and real change in sector practice.

What activity will be coordinated?

The project will deliver the Prosper Development Model and Portal, with a flexible, accessible library of diverse, carefully evaluated development tools, resources and frameworks maintained and available for all Universities.

The Prosper model will be:

  • Co-created with employers to ensure it delivers the right development to meet skills requirements in a rapidly evolving landscape.
  • Culture changing - it will engage both Principal Investigators, recognising their key role in supporting postdoctoral researchers and shaping their future development and career pathways and funders.
  • Designed to democratise access of first time postdoctoral researchers by creating flexible, innovative modes of development that respond to the inherent diversity and complexity of the postdoctoral research community, whilst tackling systemic equality, diversity and inclusion issues.

The model will be tested at The University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and The University of Manchester. Following on from RED funding, using the University of Liverpool’s committed resource for continuation of the project, the Prosper model will be rolled out across the N8 Research Partnership Universities and then to the wider sector.

Wider benefits to economy/society

Postdoctoral researchers represent a highly skilled, talented workforce for all UK employers, including HEIs, industry and other sectors. They are a significant investment (both public and private) in the future UK research skills base. The Prosper model will look to transform their readiness to consider all possible future career paths through an innovative approach to the development of early postdoctoral talent. The Prosper model will improve their future employability and encourage the development of the skills highlighted in the people strand of the Industrial Strategy.