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.


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.


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 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.]

List of RED Fund projects

Download the list of RED Fund projects (PDF, 174KB)

When is the next RED Fund panel date?

Thursday 15 July 2021 and Thursday 7 October 2021.

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.