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Universities: Regulation

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL13084, tabled on 8 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the regulatory burden on universities when making screening decisions for research funding; and what plans they have to reduce any such burden

Answered on

22 February 2021

The Government is taking a number of steps to reduce the overall bureaucratic burden on universities in receipt of research funding. The Government will shortly announce an independent review of research bureaucracy. This will build on the initiatives already underway in major public funding organisations.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK. UKRI requires institutions, including universities, applying to its research opportunities to demonstrate compliance against several requirements depending on the type of opportunity and nature of the proposed research. These are:

  1. Research Ethics, Misconduct and Conflicts of Interest
  2. Use of Animals in Research
  3. Health & Safety
  4. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  5. Safeguarding
  6. Bullying and Harassment
  7. Whistleblowing

In addition, UKRI may also request information concerning the support available for career development and training of staff involved in the proposed research.

UKRI regularly review and improve their processes following ongoing consultation and discussion with applicants to their opportunities and institutions, including universities.

UKRI has recently launched a new programme, Simpler and Better Funding, to review and improve its systems and processes for applicants, institutions and wider stakeholders.

With regard to health and care research funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Institute of Health Research is working to reduce administrative burdens across the health and care research sector in a number of areas - one of these being the funding application process.