The outcome of the independent review of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) led by Sir David Grant was published today.

Commenting on the outcome of the Review, Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “The Review acknowledges that UKRI has operated in a volatile operational environment, marked for the last two years by the pandemic. Since the organisation’s formal launch in 2018, its operation has faced various challenges. It has been affected by short-term funding settlements, reductions in support for Overseas Development Assistance research and changes in senior staff. Alongside this, it now faces uncertainty concerning Horizon Europe association coupled with broader political instability. Its performance in this context has been good. However, further action is required to realise it and the UK research and innovation system’s potential.”

Marshall concluded, “The Grant Review observes that the extent to which innovation activity takes place across UKRI is not well understood outside the organisation. More broadly, anecdotally, NCUB’s engagement suggests that businesses continue to find UKRI difficult to navigate. If the organisation is to deliver improved collaboration between the UK research base and businesses, it is vital that barriers to funding and delivering programmes across UKRI’s constituent bodies are overcome. Its offer for businesses must be communicated in a clearer, and more coherent and accessible manner. In addition to, greater internal ‘simplicity, integration, harmonisation and agility’, UKRI needs continued better support from Government. Simply put, it needs the freedom to deliver its mission and help to deliver the innovation that could enable the UK to thrive.”