- Nine collaborative research projects between universities and businesses will share £177 million of government funding and attract £363 million of private co-investment.
- There will be an additional £160 million of government funding through to 2020-21 to support universities’ knowledge exchange activities with the wider world.
- These announcements support the Government’s Industrial Strategy to maintain and develop the UK’s global leadership in science, research and innovation.
In the latest round of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), nine projects will share £177 million of government investment to support research by universities working with business in areas including power electronics, crop science, vehicle propulsion and digital technology for aviation.
Through their business and charitable partnerships, the nine projects have together attracted nearly £363 million in further funding from private sources.
This takes the total from Round 5 of the UKRPIF to £697 million investment in 11 research and development collaborations between university, business and charities – £230 million from UKRPIF and £467 million from private partners.
Additionally, there will be a £40 million per annum uplift to the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) for England over 2017-21, to boost universities’ capacity to collaborate with business. This comes from the £4.7 billion additional funding for research and development announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, and represents the ‘dual support’ allocation confirmed at that time. The devolved administrations will receive funding through the Barnett formula in the usual way.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
'The UK’s world-renowned leadership in science, research and innovation is helping to solve a range of national and global challenges, and the breadth of the projects funded today, along with the additional support for collaborations between universities and businesses, means this will continue.
'Through our Industrial Strategy and £4.7 billion investment for research and development, we're ensuring we capitalise on the great work taking place in universities across the UK and remain at the forefront of innovation.'
Managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the UKRPIF fosters greater collaboration between universities and industry to make advances in key areas of research and maximise the contribution of the UK research base to economic growth.
Also managed by HEFCE, HEIF funds higher education institutions in England to help them develop capacity to support a range of knowledge-based interactions with business and others (through, for example, contract research, exploitation of intellectual property and support for student and academic enterprise), for the benefit of the economy and society. HEIF generates a return on investment of £9.70 for every pound invested.
David Sweeney, HEFCE’s Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange and Executive Chair Designate of Research England, said:
'Universities work with businesses and society more broadly to deliver national and local benefits. UKRPIF will provide the high-class facilities and world-leading research that enables us to tackle major challenges, and additional HEIF funding will support universities to accelerate the commercialisation of our knowledge base and deliver the Government's Industrial Strategy.'
The nine UKRPIF projects announced today are:
- Advanced Therapies Centre, King’s College London – UKRPIF funding: £10.2 million
- Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester – UKRPIF funding: £9.7 million
- Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre, Cranfield University – UKRPIF funding: £15.5 million
- Centre for Crop Science, University of Cambridge – UKRPIF funding: £16.9 million
- Creating a new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, Institute of Cancer Research – UKRPIF funding: £30 million
- Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, University of Bath – UKRPIF funding: £28.9 million
- Research and Innovation Centre for Power Electronics and Machines, University of Nottingham – UKRPIF funding: £9.37 million
- Translational Neuroscience, University College London – UKRPIF funding: £28.9 million
- UK Rail Research Innovation Network, University of Birmingham (et al) – UKRPIF funding: £28.1 million
Since the UKRPIF was established in 2012, HEFCE has allocated over £680 million to 43 projects through the scheme, attracting over £1.65 billion of co-investment from business, charities and private investors.
Round 6 of the competition will allocate a further £220 million up to 2021.
These nine projects complete the fifth round of the UKRPIF, covering investment to be made from 2018-19 to 2019-20. Two projects, totalling £52 million, were announced earlier in the round.
The uplift to HEIF builds on the recommendations of the Witty and Dowling reviews in recognising the important role that universities will play in delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy. It will enable the sector to rise to the challenge of accelerating the commercialisation of knowledge from our world-class research base.
1. The aims of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund are to:
enhance the research facilities of higher education institutions undertaking world-leading research
encourage strategic partnerships between institutions and with other organisations active in research
stimulate additional investment in university research
strengthen the contribution of the research base to economic growth.
The UKRPIF is managed by HEFCE in collaboration with the other three UK higher education funding bodies – the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.
2. Proposals for funding by the UKRPIF are assessed by an independent assessment panel.
3. The UKRPIF was first launched with £100 million of public finance in May 2012. In response to the large number of high-quality bids, the Government tripled the public support to £300 million in autumn 2012 and ran a second round of the special funding initiative. In June 2013, the Government announced two further rounds of UKRPIF, extending it to 2016-17 and making available an additional £200 million to be allocated over two years. An additional £400 million of funding was announced for UKRPIF in the 2015 budget for the period to 2021, taking the total government investment in the fund to £900 million.
6. HEIF (the Higher Education Innovation Fund) provides funding for higher education institutions in England to help them develop capacity to undertake a range of knowledge-based interactions with the wider world and to increase their economic and societal impact.
7. HEIF returns £9.70 of benefits for every pound invested. A 2015 econometric analysis of the marginal impact of HEIF revealed that an extra £1 of HEIF funding would deliver £7.40 in additional leverage.
8. The additional funding for HEIF represents the 'dual support' element from allocations so far agreed from the £4.7 billion additional Research and Development funding announced in the Autumn Statement 2016 2016. This augments the £160 million for HEIF in 2017-18 allocated by HEFCE in March, which includes contributions from both BEIS research budget, and from DfE’s HE teaching grant.
9. This uplift will complement the additional funding provided through the £100 million Connecting Capability Fund (read more about the Connecting Capability Fund).