The primary role of the Research Councils is to fund research. Each year the Councils invest around £1.3 billion in research in UK universities and around £500 million in their own Research Institutes, and around £300 million in access to international facilities for UK researchers.
This money is used to fund the very best world-class research as judged by independent, expert peer review.
Together the Research Councils cover the full spectrum of academic disciplines from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, and the arts and humanities.
The new knowledge, technologies and information generated from this research are used by business and industry to develop new products and services, by the NHS to improve patient care, by Government and regulators to develop better policies and deliver better public services, and by many other users for social, economic, environmental and cultural benefit.
There is strength in the diversity of the Research Council system with the separate identities of each Council providing a strong focus for their individual research and user communities. Working in partnership with their academic communities, as well as other research funders and stakeholders including Government and the private sector, Research Councils have developed and implemented an extensive and successful portfolio of flexible funding mechanisms and approaches supporting a huge range of excellent research.