Research Councils


The UK has seven research councils, which are brought together under the umbrella organisation Research Councils UK.

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) - funds world-class, independent research across a wide-range of Arts and Humanities subjects.
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - funds research in plants, microbes, animals (including humans), tools and technology underpinning biological research.
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - funds research and training on social and economic issues. The ESRC supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society.
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - funds research and training in engineering and the physical sciences investing more than £800 million a year in a broad range of subjects including.
  • Medical Research Council (MRC) - supports research across the biomedical spectrum. It gives a high priority to research that is likely to make a real difference to clinical practice and the health of the population.
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) - funds research, survey, training and knowledge transfer in the environmental sciences.
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (SFTC) - operates large scale science and engineering research facilities, and funds research mainly in astronomy, particle physics, space science and nuclear physics. There is a key focus on multi-disciplinary approaches to science.


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