Expanding Excellence in England (E3): Research England announces a new funding scheme

Expanding Excellence in England (E3): Research England announces a new funding scheme

09 April 2018

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund, a first new initiative for Research England. This competitive fund will allocate up to £75m over three years to help grow small but excellent research units and departments in English universities. Bids will be assessed by an expert panel chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen.

Research England oversees UK Research and Innovation’s England-only functions in relation to university research and knowledge exchange, having previously operated within HEFCE. Research England’s mission is to create and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in English universities. One way in which it will do this is through providing performance-based, institution-focused funding to deliver excellent research and high-performance knowledge exchange, unlocking potential, generating economic and social impact, and meeting national priorities and global challenges. The E3 fund will be one among several new (and existing) policies and initiatives that support Research England in achieving this goal.

Analysis of REF2014 results shows that there are subject areas with excellent research output operating at a limited scale (so called ‘pockets of excellence’). While by no means the only barrier, the nature of funding policy may constrain the ability of universities to grow these ‘pockets of excellence’, meaning valuable opportunities to enhance research performance and the associated benefits may be lost.

Research England is making up to £75m available through the E3 fund to be allocated between successful applicants over three years (Academic Year 19/20 - 21/22). This is based on a two-stage process, assessed via an expert panel. Gateway criterion at the expression of interest stage focus on research excellence, small size, expansion plans and strategic commitment.

By helping to build new capacity to deliver excellent research, this fund will make an important contribution to enabling UK Research and Innovation to meet the Government’s commitment to raise total R&D funding to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027.

We are now calling for submissions to the expressions of interest (EOI) stage. We are establishing an expert panel to assess these bids, which we will announce soon. At full bid stage we may call on further expertise where required.

For more details, guidance and means to submit an expression of interest please click here. Deadline to submit an EOI end noon on 17th July 2018.