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RCUK demonstrates impact of working together

24 January 2013


Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts today announced the publication of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Impact Report 2012, during his speech at the Policy Exchange to update on progress of the Government’s industrial strategy.


The report details the various activities through which the Research Councils, including the Medical Research Council (MRC), are working together to achieve greater impact. Additionally, it complements the individual Impact Reports prepared by the Research Councils, including the Medical Research Council Impact Report, also published today.


David Willetts said: "These excellent reports show that the UK research base is not only at the cutting edge of scientific and academic discovery, but also is doing more to translate this into practical wider benefits. This helps to keep us ahead in the global race.”


In his speech, the Minister also announced further details of the allocation of the additional £600m of funding, mainly for capital investment in science and technology that was announced by the Chancellor George Osborne, in the Autumn Statement in December 2012. The details are as follows:


  • £20m capital investment for the Regenerative Medicine Platform
  • £189m for e-infrastructure in areas including a new bioinformatics capability in universities, an Environmental Virtual Observatory, and investment in the ESRC-led Life Study, the most ambitious birth cohort study yet, to ensure the UK maintains its leadership in social sciences.
  • £35m for centres of excellence in Robotics and Autonomous Systems.
  • £50m to support the implementation of key recommendations from the UK Synthetic Biology Roadmap.
  • £65m in buildings, joint facilities and infrastructure to promote co-location of industry, high-tech business and academic groups on Research and Innovation campuses. There is also a further £30m for capital investment in BBSRC’s world-leading Research and Innovation campuses.
  • £45m in advanced materials research.
  • £30m to create dedicated R&D facilities to develop and test new grid scale energy storage technologies.
  • £50m for scientists to upgrade equipment and labs.


The RCUK Impact Report 2012 highlights RCUK’s co-ordinated investment in priority areas such as the cross-Council research themes, facilities and infrastructure, and other initiatives where there is a shared interest. It also focuses on RCUK’s co-ordinated approach to working with key strategic stakeholders to facilitate knowledge exchange, our partnerships with other funders, and our collective policy influence to drive culture change in the higher education sector.


Professor David Delpy, RCUK Impact Champion, said: “By working in partnership, RCUK provides the world class research and skills that are the foundation of a strong and productive UK economy, helping to achieve a balanced growth as well as contributing to a healthy society and a sustainable world. Respondents to our latest User Satisfaction Survey told us that the Research Councils working in partnership and combining investment is having a significant impact on UK research, particularly in specific societal and economic grand challenge areas. We have a key role to play in ensuring that the UK builds capacity and ensures the long-term sustainability of interdisciplinary research.”


The RCUK Impact Report 2012 contains many examples of the ways in which the Research Councils are achieving impact collectively, including:

  • the cross-Council research themes, which demonstrate clear value from working together as RCUK. A key activity from the Digital Economy Theme is the India UK Advanced Technology Centre (IU-ATC) of Excellence in Next Generation Systems and Services. This is first and largest collaborative project between the UK and India, which has leveraged additional funding of £10.2m in 2012 alone. As a result, the UK is now third on the Indian Government’s preferred list of partners, which presents opportunities for RCUK to consider further collaborative opportunities through its office in India. The project has also generated a large number of patents and other commercialisation outcomes that will impact on billion-dollar markets.
  • aligning the strategic objectives of the Research Councils and the research we fund with cross-government objectives, and having relationships with a wide range of government departments. For example, RCUK provides input to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Behavioural Research Network (BRN), which is a group of professionals drawn from the higher education, private and public sectors who share an interest in behavioural research. A series of policy seminars were also held at DCLG as a part of the cross-Council Connected Communities programme to address topical policy issues.



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