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Research organisation eligibility

All UK Higher Education Institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies are eligible to receive funds for research, postgraduate training and associated activities.

These bodies consist of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Department for Employment & Learning Northern Ireland (DEL).

Research Institutes (RIs), for which research councils have established a long-term involvement as major funder as part of the national research base (and which are listed on the RCUK eligibility pages), are also eligible to receive research funding.

Other Independent Research Organisations (IROs) may also be eligible to receive funding for research, if such research extends and enhances the national research base. The research councils will jointly consider eligibility of IROs for research funding, and eligibility may be restricted to certain research councils. The full eligibility criteria and application process is on the RCUK website - external link.

IROs are eligible to receive funding from a research council in its managed mode (NERC research programmes) or in response to a specific call for proposals. Unless specifically stated by an individual council, access to responsive mode (discovery science) funding is limited to HEIs and RIs. Organisations currently recognised as IROs are listed on the RCUK eligibility pages.

Organisations that are eligible to apply for research council funding may work in partnership or collaboration with any other organisation, irrespective of its eligibility status, subject to the conditions of any grant awarded.

In unusual cases, research councils may have requirements for the development of equipment or facilities, needed to pursue their research priorities, for which there is no capability in HEIs, RIs or IROs. In these specific circumstances, the research councils will issue a call for proposals and may fund organisations which do not otherwise satisfy the conditions for eligibility.