From education to employment

Research England £8 billion investment in England’s universities

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Research England has published its funding decisions for university research and knowledge exchange, expected to be £8 billion over the spending review period.

These funding decisions recognise the excellence of our university research base and its importance in supporting sustainable economic growth and improving societal benefits by reaching more people across England.

Benefits of research

Every day, we all reap the benefit of universities’ research and their partnerships.

Health care, electric vehicles, safe foods, the shift to renewable energy and online commerce have all used advances in knowledge and collaboration with universities.

A financial bedrock for this work comes from long term, performance-driven investment in research and knowledge exchange through Research England.

A stable base for collaboration

This funding helps universities to provide a stable base for individual research projects and fast-moving collaborations between universities, businesses, and local partners.

Today, Research England announces:

  • stable allocations over the spending review period to deliver research and knowledge exchange for societal and economic benefit locally, nationally and globally. This includes an increase of 6.1% in 2022 to 2023 over 2021 to 2022, and an increase of 13.8% in 2022 to 2023 over 2020 to 2021
  • quality-related research (QR) funding increased by 10.4% from £1,789 million to £1,974 million, rewarding success in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework
  • knowledge exchange funding through the formula-driven Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) increased by 13% from £230 million to £260 million with enhanced focus on commercialisation, business collaboration and local growth. It also includes knowledge exchange funding through a new formula supplement and focus on innovative and collaborative projects
  • research with business supported by an increase of 36% from £84 million to £114 million
  • £100 million for the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) to support the development of large-scale research infrastructure, double matched by investment from private and charitable partners
  • sustained funding of £36 million annually to enable universities in England to further improve research culture and enhance research conducted in partnership with communities.

Delivering economic and social impact

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England said:

I am delighted that this funding provides sustained support from government for universities to make real progress on a broad range of research and knowledge exchange challenges.

This investment, alongside that of other funders, business and from universities themselves, will deliver economic and social impact and benefit people and communities right across the country.

Sector Response

Stephanie Smith, Head of Policy (Research and International) at the Russell Group, said:

“Research England’s funding allocation for universities recognises the breadth of excellent research taking place across the country and its vital contribution to our economy and society. We particularly welcome the stable allocations over the spending review period which give the sector much needed certainty, and the boost to schemes proven to deliver returns, like the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

“The increase in quality-related (QR) funding will allow universities to plan long term and pursue high-risk high-reward discovery research – which underpinned breakthroughs in graphene, genomics, and laid the foundations to develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in a matter of months. However, despite this increase, its value has declined in real terms over the past decade.

“Research England has delivered a good outcome for universities within its funding envelope. But as we face up to long-term challenges like Net Zero, it’s vital that the Government builds on this with an ambitious plan to boost investment in R&D that will deliver more world-class research and power future economic growth.”

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