‘We can encourage co-development of ideas and innovations’

Despite pressures, access to the best facilities is key in helping to drive economic growth

Specialist laboratories, cutting-edge scientific equipment, comprehensive datasets and advanced information technology are just a few elements of the physical  infrastructure that lays the foundations for maintaining the UK’s world-leading position in research, as well as attracting the best researchers and securing further international investment for the UK. Embarking on a research career, you will want to know that you have access to the kind of facilities that enable you to push the boundaries of discovery.

Economic pressures on public investment have led to a reduction in funding both in what we call “resource” budgets – which are generally invested in research grants and postgraduate training – and in “capital” budgets, which are invested in equipment, facilities and infrastructure. Critically, at the last  spending review, capital funding was removed from the Science Budget’s ringfence and funding was reduced.

However, the need for investment in capital and infrastructure projects has not diminished; in fact, it is more crucial than ever. The rate of technological advance is accelerating, and our researchers need to access the very best facilities to continue to deliver the excellent research needed to drive economic growth. We also need to attract and retain our best talent.

Researchers, perhaps especially those early on in their careers, will look to move internationally if facilities and infrastructure are not available at home or through global partnerships. The UK therefore needs to invest to retain, foster and develop its research capability to continue to lead and attract investment.

Research Councils UK have responded to this changing and challenging environment and led the way in promoting the sharing of equipment and facilities between and across universities and other research institutions. By working together and sharing access, institutions and researchers can increase the reach and impact of investments. By sharing, we can also encourage the co-development of strong ideas and innovations.

We have now taken this a step further and placed capital planning at the heart of our research strategy. We have developed a framework for Capital Investment against which the Research Councils will plan investments in the UK’s capital infrastructure for research. The framework doesn’t present a simple shopping list of funding requests. Rather it provides a strategic plan for developing and maintaining the UK’s infrastructure to ensure it keeps pace with the needs of our world-leading research base in a way that adapts flexibly to new priorities. As well as ensuring we can deliver up-to-the-minute advanced research, the infrastructure will drive advances in sectors crucial to the economy.

To be able to do this effectively, there are two inter-related strands to the framework. First, we need to maintain the core “underpinning” infrastructure to support existing excellence. Second, we need to ensure this is responsive to emerging opportunities and the challenges of the future.

While the framework for capital investment focuses on capital and infrastructure needs, we are acutely aware that a highly-skilled workforce with state-of-the-art technical skills and research leadership is required across all career stages. Investment in all areas of research, including the skills and capabilities or researchers, are crucial to sustaining excellence, making the UK an attractive place in which to learn, produce, invest and grow.

More information on the framework for capital investment will be available during November at rcuk.ac.uk

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
food + drink
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

KS2 Teacher with SEN responsibilities

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: KS2 teacher with SEN responsibi...

Year 5 Teacher

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teacher...

Music Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Maths Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments