Funding success from research councils up by a third in 2016/17

Reading was fifth in the UK for funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Researchers at the University of Reading won a record amount of research funding from the UK Research Councils in 2016/17, a new analysis has shown.

Funding for Reading-led research projects from the six main research councils increased to £14.5 million in 2016/17, up by more than 40% from 2015/16.

The success was highlighted by an analysis of Research Council success rates by Times Higher Education (THE).

The University’s success rate from applications also reached a record high, with more than a third (34%) of applications for funding being successful – the second highest success rate of any UK university with at least 10 awards, according to the THE analysis.

Professor Steve Mithen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, welcomed the figures.

He said: “This is wonderful news. Competition for funding for research from UK research councils is fiercer than ever, and I am pleased that Reading researchers are holding their own in comparison to colleagues at other UK institutions.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that such a high proportion of our applications for funding are successful. This suggests that our researchers are focusing their work in the right places, and that our internal procedures are working well to put the strongest bids forward.”

Other highlights from the analysis include:

  • Reading is ranked 24th in the UK for total research funding awarded to lead institutions
  • Reading is ranked 5th in the UK for the £7.2m funding awarded from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) – behind only Leeds, Exeter, and Bristol universities, and Imperial College London
  • The University increased its number of applications, success rate and total value of awards from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) – the fourth successive year Reading has increased its BBSRC funding
  • With more than £1.1 million from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Reading is ranked as 10th in the UK – based on data from open call grants.

The University was also successful in securing funding from the other research funding councils in the THE analysis, with around £650,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), £860,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and £950,000 from the Medical Research Council (MRC).