One of the aims of RCUK is to optimise the ways in which the Research Councils can work together to enhance their overall performance to provide better and more efficient services. This is important because:
- increasingly, scientists wish to undertake new research which cuts across Council remits. Councils need to be able to assess and fund these proposals effectively.
- Councils want to minimise the administrative burden on universities and research institutions.
- Councils are funded by the tax payer and have a duty to use this money efficiently.
- Government has set targets for all public sector bodies to improve their efficiency. For Research Councils this is about ensuring that Councils improve their efficiency to release more money to fund research, postgraduate training and knowledge transfer.
Research Councils have been working together successfully for many years, funding joint research programmes and units such as the UK Research Office in Brussels. Internally too, Councils have a good track record of delivering joint services such as internal audit, recruitment and procurement.
The Government's Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-14 reinforced commitments from Research Councils to simplify their processes for those seeking research funding and to further reduce bureaucracy for the benefit of researchers and Councils alike. Research Councils are now addressing the efficiency and effectiveness agenda both individually and collectively by: