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Independent review into UK Research and Innovation published

21 July 2022

Sir David Grant’s review published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The first full review of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has been released.

The report places an emphasis on the important role of engaging businesses in research, shines a light on the need to increase funding outside of London and the South East, and advocates for greater levels of interdisciplinary research.

Sir David Grant, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University from 2001 to 2012, was asked to complete the review in December 2021 to mark the fourth anniversary of the establishment of UKRI.

He was charged with investigating if UKRI is achieving its core objectives and to assess “its readiness to contribute to the UK government’s ambitions”.

UKRI is the umbrella organisation that includes the seven disciplinary research councils, plus Research England and Innovate UK. It directs most state research funding and received an allocation of nearly £8bn in 2021-22.

The report found that UKRI successfully awarded more than 52,800 grants with a combined value of more than £22.5bn, and UKRI-funded research publications were cited 2.6 times more than the global average.

Today’s report has been welcomed by the Institute for Physics (IOP) as an important examination of a key element of the research and development ecosystem in the UK, and for raising key issues which need addressing.

Chief Executive of the IOP group, Tom Grinyer, said: “It is good that in spite of the upheaval in government currently, this important piece of work has been published. We would urge a review of this kind be regularly repeated in the coming years, once UKRI embeds and the UK’s science sector has a more stable strategy and governance.

“Physics as a science supports industries and sectors across disciplines, and a move to fund a greater level of interdisciplinary research would greatly benefit UK innovation.

“A world-class science and innovation ecosystem needs a first-class research and innovation infrastructure, so if these recommendations can help UKRI to deliver the government’s promised science superpower agenda then they will prove their value many times over.

“We all want to see a thriving, cohesive and innovative body at the heart of the research system to unlock the benefit of investment in science, innovation and enterprise in our economy.”

Read the full review