Funding FAQs

How do you assess quality of research?

Performance is assessed through the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

What is QR funding?

QR funding is Quality Related (QR) funding, and it constitutes the majority of our funding for research.

Will the Accelerated QR awarded in May be clawed back in AY 20-21

No, the Accelerated QR was a one-off additional allocation of £100m in AY 2019-20 and in addition to the allocations announced in August 2020.

What is HEIF?

HEIF is the Higher Education Innovation Fund.

How do you measure KE performance?

We measure KE performance through the Higher Education Business & Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey.

How does my institution apply for Research England funding?

Most of our funding is allocated annually by formula. Some individual project funds can be applied for, and each fund has its own application process. You'll find details of how to apply on the individual fund pages.

Which project funds can I apply for now?

The following funds are currently open for submission. 

How can I find out about new Research England funding opportunities?

New funding opportunities will be posted on this website. You can also sign up for email updates here.

How does our funding allocation compare with other universities?

You'll find details of the core grants allocated to Universities for the year 2019-2020 here. Annex A: Institutional allocations (Excel)

Can we increase our fund allocation?

We allocate formula-based funding for research on the basis of research quality, and take into account the volume and relative cost of research in different areas. Research quality is measured through a periodic assessment called the REF.

Formula-based funding for KE is also calculated on the basis of past performance, so to increase funds we would need to see evidence of long term changes. We gather this evidence through the HE-BCI survey which collects financial and output data related to KE each academic year. 

Elements of this data to inform the allocation of our formula-based KE funding, the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

How do you support Universities in their work with business, industry and commercialisation?


We provide additional support for research that HEPS carry out with business and industry. The funding amounts to approximately £64 million in 2019-20.

The business support element encourages HEPs to collaborate with business and other non-academic organisations over research activity and to develop relationships with industry.

HEPs must attract money from industry to qualify for the funds. We allocate the money as a fixed sum which we allocate between providers in proportion to their qualifying income.

Providers report the income they receive from industry in their financial return to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

For 2019-20, we will allocate a fixed pot of £64 million to providers in proportion to a rolling four-year average of their business income.

Knowledge Exchange

HEIF allocations can be used for engagement with business, including additional funding of £[npif uplift] xx provided specifically for commercialization, together with the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF). Additional funding to deliver the Industrial Strategy is calculated based on main HEIF method.

How does Research England support research degrees?

We provide a stream of funding that helps HEPs meet the costs of supervising research degree programmes, helping to encourage the next generation of researchers.

Research Degree Programme (RDP) supervision funding currently amounts to £260 million. We allocate it only to departments which will receive mainstream QR funding in the same academic year.

In 2011, HEFCE consulted on the method of RDP allocation and developed a funding method for 2012 onwards that links RDP supervision funding to the quality of research. This funding method continues under Research England.

How does RDP funding work?

We calculate a quality score for each department based on research assessment outcomes. For 2017-18, the quality score for each department uses the quality profile from the REF. The score is the amount of 3* and 4* activity as a proportion of total activity at 2* quality and above.

The relative cost of research is also taken into account, with one of three research subject cost weights applied to the rate of funding received per post-graduate research (PGR) student.

We calculate final rates of funding per (London-weighted) PGR full-time equivalent student to ensure we allocate the full budget. To complete the calculation we multiply these final rates of funding by London-weighted PGR full-time equivalent students.

We profile allocations (for the full programme) over a maximum period of three years for full-time study (or the part-time equivalent).

We are carrying out research on behalf of a charity. Can you help?

We provide additional support for research that HEPs carry out on behalf of charities. The funding amounts to approximately £204 million in 2019-20.

The funding recognises that charities sponsor high-value research in HEPs that brings benefits to scientific discovery and society, but that they cannot always meet the full costs of that research.

The funding also aims to encourage providers to work with charities in this way.

This sum is allocated to providers in proportion to the income they receive from charities for research which has been awarded through peer review and open competition.

Funding method

HEPs report the income they receive from charities, and which qualifies them for our funding, in the financial statistics they return to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. We use this to inform our allocations.

For 2019-20, we will allocate a fixed pot of £204 million to providers in proportion to a rolling four-year average of their charity income.

Accelerated Funding (May 2020) FAQs

Accelerated quality-related (QR) funding announcement