Research Councils: Cooperation

(asked on 24th February 2016) - View Source

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what (a) human resources, (b) communications, (c) grant administration, (d) building and estates management and (e) other administrative functions are shared by the seven research councils; and which such services are delivered independently by each research council.

This question was answered on 16th March 2016

The seven Research Councils currently operate their own corporate functions, with separate Human Resources, Finance, Communications and IT operations.

The Research Councils are working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on a new digital grants system and common technology platform.

The Research Councils share a number of services including a main campus in Swindon at Polaris House; access to the London base of the Medical Research Council (MRC); and Internal Audit and Assurance functions, which are hosted by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). BBSRC also operate the estates and facilities management of Polaris House.

All seven Councils have their transactional HR, finance, payroll, systems and grants administration provided by UK Shared Business Services and six of the seven Councils share a pension scheme and its administration, with MRC running its own pension scheme.

The Government is implementing Sir Paul Nurse’s report, which recommended an evolution of the Research Councils into a formal organisation with a single Accounting Officer. Sir Paul advised that a new Research UK body could support the whole system to collectively become more than the sum of its parts, including by simplifying transactional operations, reducing the burden of administration currently placed on each individual Research Council, and enabling a stronger focus on multi-disciplinary research. We also want to strengthen collaboration between the research base and the commercialisation of discoveries in the business community and this is why we are looking to integrate Innovate UK into Research UK. Innovate UK will retain its clear business focus and separate funding stream.

Reticulating Splines