Research England Development (RED) Fund

The Research England Development (RED) Fund commits up to £27 million in annual funding. It supports projects that aid the development and interaction of the UK's higher education research and knowledge exchange (KE) activity in line with Government and UKRI priorities.

Aim

The aim of the RED fund is to drive innovation in research and KE in higher education.

What the RED Fund supports

  • Activities that contribute to Government and UKRI policy priorities, with a particular emphasis on delivering innovative and novel approaches.
  • Collaborations between higher education providers, industry and /or business partners.
  • A risk sharing approach. Due to the innovative nature of projects that the RED fund seeks to support, we expect financial contributions, investments and/or leverage from appropriate partners and beneficiaries to support these higher risk activities.
  • Projects that increase the effectiveness or efficiency of research or KE for wider societal and economic benefits.
  • Projects that clearly seek to disseminate key learning points to the sector to enhance positive practice for 'what works' and 'what doesn't work.'
  • Activities that are unable to be supported through any other means.
  • Innovations with a clear plan for sustainability.

RED Fund FAQs

What is the deadline for submitting proposals?

There is 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 for RED funds?

The fund is open to HE providers that are eligible for Research England funding, as described in more detail in the guidance document.

How do I develop a proposal to the RED Fund?

The first step in considering making a proposal to the fund is to test the project idea with a representative of Research England. Email REDevelopmentFund@re.ukri.org to log your interest and receive feedback. We will advise on general fit with the fund policies and priorities, and the likely chances of success. If the project idea is at an early stage of thinking, an initial discussion may be more suitable.

You may then be requested to complete a short summary of a proposed project idea, on one or two sides of A4. Alternatively, providers can submit the short summary, and we will seek to respond within two weeks.

Formal proposals must be worked up according to our guidance. Interested bidders should keep Research England informed of key developments so that we can provide advice as required and take account of any critical timing and external funding factors in our process. Do note that successful proposals generally emerge after extensive discussions with us, and our templates must be used for all formal submissions.

Who is on the RED fund panel?

For bids of £501,000 to £5 million, 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
    • David Sweeney is Research England Executive Chair and RED Fund Chair
  • Dr Richard Armour
    • Dr Richard Armour is Former Secretary-General, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong
  • Dame Janet Finch
    • Dame Janet Finch is Former Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, and Honorary Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester
  • Faith Wainwright
    • Faith Wainwright is Director of Arup Group

What are your current investment priorities?

Bids must clearly fit with one of these priorities in order to be successful. The current set of priorities are:

  • Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research and knowledge exchange
    • Strategic and innovative approaches to improve EDI, within HE or in collaboration with other organisations.
  • Collaborations in research
    • Proposals which develop strategic research collaboration between higher education institutions (HEIs).  Areas to focus on might be:
      • Maximising the economic and social benefits from established research units
      • Improving outcomes for PGR students. Proposals that examine ways in which to secure postgraduate research opportunities, or work experience, for under-represented groups at that level.
    • Working with external partners to support a diverse research workforce
    • Developing new facilities with external partners – for research and knowledge exchange.
  • Delivering Industrial Strategy through knowledge exchange
    • Novel approaches from disciplines or types of knowledge exchange (KE) that are currently under-utilised in Industrial Strategy developments to-date but have potential to deliver to unexplored areas of business demand or to draw in a wider range of HEI expertise/KE capacity. This may include projects to unlock potential of HEIs that do not have critical mass currently to gain a HEIF formula allocation, and enhancing impact through social innovation and enterprise.
    • Projects that build upon policies, priorities or funding of the other eight UKRI Councils and/or wider Industrial Strategy developments, including with the Office for Students.
    • Addressing challenges and opportunities in university commercialisation policy and practice. In due course, we may update or review these priorities in the light of development of UKRI’s commercialisation strategy.
  • Creating opportunities to consolidate existing, or develop new opportunities, for international collaborations

    The Industrial Strategy highlighted the development of the International Research and Innovation Strategy and the UKRI Fund for International Collaboration. In the context of this wider landscape we are inviting activity from institutions in England that look to address the following areas:

    • Proposals for major strategic international research partnerships enhancing the impact of research in England
    • Improving practice in leadership, governance and management focused on international opportunities
    • Innovative approaches to international collaboration in KE focussed on KE activities that could be scaled/of wider relevance to the HE sector

[In due course, we may update or review these priorities in the light of development of UKRI’s international strategy.]

Which projects are you currently funding?

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.

Links

Coventry University

Project name:
Lead higher education institution: Coventry University
HEI partners: Birkbeck University, Lancaster University, Loughborough University, Library Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Other key partners and investors: ScholarLed (Mattering Press, meson press, Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, punctum books) University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library Jisc Collections The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC)
Funding: Total RED investment: £2,202,947, total investment (which also includes partner contributions): £2,817,777
Region: West Midlands

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) transforms Open Access (OA) book publishing by delivering major improvements in the infrastructures used by Open Access (OA) book publishers and those publishers making a transition to OA books. COPIM’s innovations will enable more productive collaborations between stakeholders (including librarians, publishers, and researchers) in the OA landscape and expand opportunities to develop the skills necessary to run OA publishing operations.

COPIM is a strategic international partnership led by Coventry University consisting of world-class universities (Birkbeck University, Lancaster University and Trinity College, Cambridge), established scholar-led open access (OA) presses (represented through the ScholarLed consortium, which consists of Open Book Publishers, punctum books, Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press, and meson press), libraries (UCSB Library, Loughborough University Library) and infrastructure providers (DOAB, Jisc Collections).

COPIM will develop a significantly enriched not-for-profit and open source ecosystem for OA book publishing that will support and sustain a diversity of publishing initiatives and models, particularly within the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), in the UK and internationally. The project aims to:

  • Remove hurdles preventing new and existing OA book initiatives from adopting OA workflows by 1) building open-source, community-based infrastructures that support the publication of OA books, and 2) establishing and consolidating partnerships between HE institutions and OA book publishers.
     
  • Develop consortial, institutional, and other funding systems - building upon the partners’ existing network of 240+ libraries internationally—that will 1) serve as an important hybrid community-led revenue models for OA book publishers, 2) support the establishment of more community-owned and governed infrastructures, and 3) promote publisher-librarian partnerships around OA book publishing.
     
  • Showcase alternative (non-BPC) business models that incorporate infrastructural innovations and/or cost-reductions through streamlined operating processes, production workflows and economic efficiencies—which would benefit all scales of publishing initiatives.
     
  • Support the creation of, interaction with, and reuse of OA books in all their variety and complexity (including emergent and experimental genres), most importantly by ensuring that these complex digital research publications can be archived effectively.
     
  • Achieve knowledge transfer to stakeholders through various pilots that will 1) enable COPIM’s technical, organisational, financial and relational innovations to scale both horizontally (to other presses) and vertically (to other partners, including universities, libraries, and funders) and 2) inform and support (future) funder requirements for OA books.

COPIM is supported by the Research England Development Fund (REDF) as a major development project in the Higher Education sector with significant public benefits. The project consolidates existing relationships among the partners into a major strategic collaboration that will enhance the impact of research in England. At the same time, COPIM promotes a community-based approach for the collaboration of academic institutions and industry stakeholders. Finally, it develops innovative approaches for knowledge exchange activities to facilitate sustainable and workable transitions to an open publication ecosystem for monographs and to ensure a diverse ecology of publishers.

COPIM will benefit the general public and the economy by maximising the dissemination and impact of world-leading research. The adoption of COPIM’s infrastructures, business models, preservation structures, and governance procedures, will enable economic sustainability and enhanced capacities, at smaller and larger scales, for OA books. It will offer HE institutions and HSS researchers sustainable publishing models they control, increased publishing options, and cost-reductions build a more horizontal and co-operative knowledge sharing community.

How does the project meet the objectives of RED Fund?

COPIM a major strategic international partnership consisting of presses, universities, libraries, and technology providers, contributes to the RED Fund’s mission to support developmental projects in the HE sector with significant public benefit by paving the way for the wider adoption and impact of Open Access (OA) books. The RED fund’s investment provides consortia like COPIM with the necessary resources to develop the missing open infrastructures and academic-industry partnerships to support OA monograph publishing—tying in with UKRI’s signalled policy intention to require OA publication for books as well as articles—and to develop a significantly enriched not-for-profit and open source ecosystem for OA book publishing that will support and sustain a diversity of publishing initiatives and models.

What activity will be coordinated?

As part of 7 connected WPs, COPIM will work on 1) integrated capacity-building amongst presses; 2) access to and development of consortial, institutional, and other funding channels; 3) development and piloting of appropriate business models; 4) cost reductions achieved by economies of scale; 5) mutually supportive governance models; 5) integration into library, repository, and digital learning environments; 6) the re-use of and experimentation with OA books; 7) the effective and robust archiving of OA content; and 8) knowledge transfer to stakeholders through various pilots.

A description of how the project is innovative in nature

COPIM will realign OA book publishing away from competing commercial service providers to a more horizontal and cooperative knowledge-sharing approach. This will involve fundamentally re-imagining the relationships between key players in academic book publishing by: 1) delivering major improvements and innovations in the infrastructures being used by OA book publishers and by those publishers making a transition to OA books; 2) enabling more productive collaborations between stakeholders (including librarians, publishers, and researchers) in the OA landscape; and 3) expanding opportunities to develop the skills necessary to run OA publishing operations.

Wider benefits to economy/society

COPIM benefits the general public, the economy, and the creative industries by maximising the dissemination and impact of world-leading research, paving the way for a growing uptake of OA monographs internationally and improving access to key resources and findings. The adoption of COPIM’s infrastructures, business models, preservation structures, and governance procedures, will enable economic sustainability and enhanced capacities, at smaller and larger scales, for OA books. It offers HE institutions and HSS researchers sustainable publishing models they control, increased publishing options, and cost-reductions. The project will conduct knowledge exchange activities with key stakeholder partners to facilitate sustainable and workable transitions to an open publication ecosystem for monographs and to ensure a diverse ecology of publishers.


When is the next RED Fund panel date?

Friday 28 February 2020 (finalised business cases to be submitted to us no later than Thursday 6 February).

Where can I find guidance to help me submit a proposal?

You can download the guidance document here.

How should I submit my proposal?

You must use our template to submit a proposal. You can download the RED bidding template here.