Our funding

Our funding supports research and knowledge exchange (KE) activities in higher education providers (HEPs).

Our core funding is allocated each year using formulae. We notify providers annually how much formula-based funding they will receive for the coming academic year (1 August to 31 July). You will find more information on how we do this below. Sometimes there are additional requirements that providers have to fulfil in relation to these formula-based funds, such as the submission of a strategy on how the money will be spent. 

Our core funding streams are quality-related research (QR) funding, the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), and the Research Capital Investment Fund (RCIF).

Some of our funding is allocated on the basis of successful applications to funding schemes that are time-limited. These funding schemes are announced at various times of the year, and are earmarked for specific purposes. Examples of these funding schemes are the Research England Development (RED) Fund, and the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF). 

The remainder of our allocations are for national facilities and initiatives to support the development of national infrastructure.  Examples are funding to support museums, galleries and collections, and funding to support Jisc. These grants are announced as they are allocated, which may be at any time of the year. 

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Dual support funding

Public funding for research in English higher education is administered under a 'dual support' system.

Under this system, we provide annual funding for English HEPs in the form of a 'block grant', and the other UKRI councils provide funding for specific research projects and programmes. Research funding for HEPs also comes from charities, businesses, government departments and other sources.

Research England funding supports HEPs research infrastructure and enables them to undertake ground-breaking research in keeping with their missions.

Our funding to HEPs for knowledge exchange complements funding from the Research Councils and the business-focused funding of Innovate UK.

What is our core funding for?

In general, providers can spend their core formula-based research funding on their own priorities so long as these relate to activities we are empowered to fund, namely research, knowledge exchange, and related activities. They are not expected to mirror our calculations in their own internal spending. (One exception is the Global Challenge Research Fund, more details on our GCRF page.)

Providers must spend their core KE funding on KE in keeping with their KE strategies.

This allows them to target spending towards their own priorities, so long as these relate to activities that we are empowered to fund: research, knowledge exchange and related activities. It means that providers can be autonomous and does not impose a burden of accounting in detail for expenditure.

'Quality-related' research funding

The majority of our funds for research are distributed on the basis of research quality, and take into account the volume and relative cost of research in different areas. This is called 'quality-related research (QR) funding. 

 

Quality is measured in a periodic exercise known as the Research Excellence Framework (REF) which we administer on behalf of all four devolved higher education funding bodies. 

Find out more about quality-related research (QR) funding.

 

Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)

The majority of our funds for KE are distributed on the basis of KE performance.

Find out more about HEIF.

Download How We Fund Higher Education Institutions