Government and research policy in the UK: an introduction

Added by Catherine Gray on 21 June 2010

This guide aims to describe the nature, roles and responsibilities of the different Government bodies involved in research policy and funding, and the relationships between them.

Government in the UK involves a complex array of bodies with responsibilities for developing and implementing policies. This applies as much to policies and funding for research and the research environment as to other areas in which Government is a key player.

The picture has become more complicated over the past decade, mainly as a result of the processes of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of responsibilities that were once the sole preserve of the UK Government.

We hope that this guide will help researchers and others to understand how policy is made and implemented in key areas such as research infrastructure, career development for researchers, and, of course, funding. Such an understanding may be particularly valuable at a time when funding for research is likely to come under increasing pressure.

The guide might usefully be read in conjunction with our briefing note on Making sense of research funding in the UK.

Hard copies of the guide can also be ordered from

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