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UK: updates on funding schemes

The UK government is looking to simplify the application process for their research grants. UK’s governmental agency Research and Innovation (UKRI) will start streamlined application processes on two programmes – a GBP 10 million (around EUR 11 million) New Horizons fund for projects in maths and physical science and a GBP 10 million Pushing the Frontiers fund that supports environmental scientists. This will include removing “unnecessary” sections from grant applications. For example, some of the already applied changes include removing the requirement from scientists to “predict the impact of their work”. UKRI has seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England which oversee the research funding in the UK.

At the same time, UKRI published that applications from overseas universities have only a 3% success rate. In numbers, only three out of 78 projects got the funding which makes GBP 1.1 million out of GBP 38 million (approx. EUR 44 million) bid for funding. For comparison, the overall success rate for the six main UK research councils for universities was 27.4%. Non-UK universities that partner with UK universities are able to receive support via the Global Challenges Research Fund, which was established in 2015 with an initial five-year budget of GBP 1.5 billion (approx. EUR 1.7 billion) to “support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries”.