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Research Council Joint Units and Services

The Research Councils work together to provide a wide range of common business services via joint Council business units. A number of these units also provide services to external customers. Joint units are hosted within individual Councils. Line management and financial accountability are provided through the host Council. The work of the Units is overseen by a supervisory board of representatives from all eight Councils. The operational effectiveness of established units is reviewed on a regular basis by Research Councils Internal Audit Service as part of their audit programme with each host Council.

The current joint units in alphabetical order are:

  • ITC Unit
    The ITC unit provides a core set of information and communication technologies services to the five Swindon-based Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC & STFC). The other Research Councils may choose to participate in selected services. The joining up of the IT infrastructure at Polaris House is an important step which will enable further harmonisation of administrative activities.

  • Joint Building and Office Services (JBOS)
    JBOS provides efficient, cost effective and timely services to meet the agreed needs of the five Swindon-based Research Councils. The unit is responsible for ensuring that health and safety and other relevant legislation is implemented to ensure that the Polaris House site offers a healthy and safe environment for all employees, visitors and contractors. This unit is hosted by BBSRC.

  • Joint Recruitment Unit (JRU)
    JRU provides a full recruitment service to the five Swindon-based Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC & STFC). It also recruits staff for the Arts and Humanities Research Council in Bristol. The JRU website enables people to views current vacancies within these six Research Councils, including the job description and person specification, as well as providing a downloadable application form.

  • Joint Reprographics Service (JRS)
    JRS is the Research Councils in-house reprographic service, based in Swindon. The unit offers a wide range of services to all Research Council staff including design, copying, printing and finishing. This unit is hosted by EPSRC.

  • Joint Superannuation Service (JSS)
    JSS administer the Research Councils' Pension Scheme, which is "by analogy" to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. The unit offers a range of services, booklets and leaflets to help Research Councils staff understand the benefits of the scheme and to take advantage of the options available. The unit is hosted by BBSRC.

  • RCUK Research Careers & Diversity Unit
    The Research Careers and Diversity Unit was launched on 1 April 2005. The work of the unit is to build on and extend existing cross-Council working fostered by the Postgraduate Training Group.

    The unit will coordinate initiatives ranging from the RCUK Academic Fellowship scheme to the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate awards scheme for excellent doctoral candidates from the developing world.

    Work on skills training includes the £2 million annual spend (approx) on the UK GRAD programme, which supports the integration of personal and professional skills development into research degree programmes. This unit is hosted by EPSRC.

  • RCUK Public Engagement with Research Team
    The RCUK Public Engagement with Research Team was set up in April 2005. It brings together the Research Councils' activities to raise public awareness and engagement in science and innovation. This includes our work with schools, scientific researchers, and the general public.

  • RCUK Strategy Unit
    The RCUK Strategy Unit works with the Councils to stimulate and enable cross-Council working. Its role is to foster joint activities by providing the platforms, tools and services needed to help the Councils collaborate effectively, both in terms of internal operations and in presenting Councils views and opinions collectively to the outside world. The unit is hosted by EPSRC.

  • Research Councils Internal Audit Service (RCIAS)
    The unit provides independent, objective audit and consulting services to the Research Councils. Its aim is to help the Councils deliver their objectives through improving the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance. This unit is hosted by BBSRC.

  • RCPO can also provide advice to those interested in supplying goods and services to the Research Councils. If you are interesting in registering your company’s details, please follow this link: http://www.rcpo.ac.uk/public/supreg.asp

  • UK Research Office in Brussels (UKRO)
    UKRO is the UK’s leading service for the provision of advice and information about European Union funding for research and higher education. It aims to promote effective UK participation in EU funded research and training programmes. As well as being funded by the Research Councils, UKRO recieves annual subscriptions from around 150 UK universities, public sector research establishments, research based charities and other UK government bodies. Companies, including non-UK based organisations can also join as associate subscribers.

    The unit was established in 1984 and operates from Brussels. It is hosted by BBSRC.


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