Nurse review paves way for merger of UK research councils

Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, has called for an overarching body to encompass all the UK’s research councils in a long-awaited review released last week.

A review of the UK’s research funding system has recommended tighter integration of the country’s seven discipline-specific research councils under a single, new umbrella organisation that would oversee all government research funding in the country.

Paul Nurse, the president of the Royal Society, published his long-awaited report on Nov 19. He recommends that the councils’ current umbrella body, Research Councils UK, be replaced with one that has direct responsibility for the councils, and a single chief executive who would be the sole point of contact between the councils and the government. The new, more powerful overhead organisation, which he suggests should be called Research UK, “can support the whole system to collectively become more than the sum of its parts”, states Nurse in his report, by strengthening their voice in government, taking responsibility for cross-council strategy, and reducing the administrative burden on each council, allowing them to focus on their own research areas. Read more in The Lancet.