15 May 2018
Before its official launch, little was known on the overarching role and plan for UKRI. Now, the organisation has published its Strategic Prospectus outlining its goals and intentions. The publication marks the beginning of UKRI’s first strategy, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2018.
The prospectus summaries three key priorities for UKRI:
- Push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding
- Deliver economic impact
- Create social and cultural impact by supporting our society and others to become healthier, more resilient and sustainable
‘Over the coming months, we will be conducting research and consultation to develop the approach of UKRI, working with others, to answer a series of big questions,’ the report says.
UKRI was launched in April 2018 and has brought together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and the newly formed Research England, which will absorb the responsibilities of the now defunct Higher Education Funding Council for England.
The organisation is led by Sir Mark Walport, who serves as UKRI’s Chief Executive, and Sir John Kingman, who sits as its Non-Executive Chair.
BEIS Ministers Greg Clark and Sam Gyimah write in the report that that launch of UKRI ‘is a once-in-a-generation moment for innovation and research in the UK’.
‘Creating a single voice and a strategic brain for research and innovation will bring new and significant benefits,’ they say. ‘It will help us take action on important issues, such as how to promote interdisciplinary research, how to guarantee research integrity, and how to ensure scientific careers are open to everyone.’
The report notes a major challenge for UK – developing a new evaluation system that balances research excellence and impact. Admitting the difficulty in measuring the economic impact of science and innovation, the report states that UKRI will incorporate ‘effective data and metrics’ and ‘extensive experience’ to create robust evaluation programmes.
The role of businesses, as well as research institutions, will also be accounted for when researching returns on investment. These programmes are still in development.
‘The UK’s ability to thrive in a changing world, to solve the challenges we face as a society and to build a prosperous economy depends more than anything on ideas,’ write Clark and Gyimah.
‘That is why the power of ideas sits at the heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.’
Read UKRI Strategic Prospectus: Building the UKRI Strategy here.
By Georgina Hines