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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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The high level skills developed through research careers are essential for the sustainability of the UK research base which drives growth of the UK economy as well as bringing many broader benefits for society.  The partnership between RCUK and HEFCE highlights how both sides of the dual support system for funding research can contribute to ensuring that UK support for researcher careers / skills remains the best in the world.

One way in which RCUK and HEFCE will be working together to ensure such a bright future for UK research careers is by committing to fund Vitae, the UK organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff, through its transition phase to become self-sustaining.

Speaking at a high-level roundtable for business and universities, organised by RCUK and Universities UK, David Willetts commented:

'This initiative by RCUK and HEFCE is an excellent example of the effectiveness of the dual support system and I hope that Vitae will be able to support the aspirations of all four UK research-funding bodies in due course. It will ensure that our excellent researchers are able to develop through their careers and drive both the acquisition of new knowledge and its application, bringing benefits for society and the economy.'

Professor Rick Rylance commented:

'I am delighted to developRCUK’s productive partnership with HEFCE.  Our dual support system for research is globally unique and a source of much of our strength. So it is heartening to see the collaboration spreading to the development of research careers and the support of current and future talent. Vitae is a distinctively valuable organisation whose work has brought much benefit to the wider economy supporting skills and the employability of researchers.'

Sir Alan Langlands commented:

'Maintaining an excellent research base is a pre-requisite for global academic and business success and requires well trained and highly motivated researchers.  HEFCE values the contribution made to researcher development by Vitae and we hope to see their work continue into the future.'


  1. As set out in the RCUK Delivery Plan, RCUK will manage the transition of the Vitae programme to be self-sustaining.  Priorities for the period 2013 -2015 include:
    • development of self-sustaining business strands to provide high quality resources for UK researchers and higher education institutions and extend the work of the programme internationally
    • a step change in the career development of research staff and implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers
    • ensuring research organisations promote the equality and diversity of the research workforce
    • maximise the impact of past investments regarding transferable skills and employability and career development.
  1. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

    The seven UK Research Councils are:
    • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
    • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
    • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
    • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
    • Medical Research Council (MRC);
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
    • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).