The Academy is committed to making the UK the world’s leading nation for engineering research and innovation and works to inform decisions that affect the UK research and innovation landscape.

Current activity


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which will be formally established in April 2018, will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

The establishment of UKRI is a development of profound significance for the UK’s research and innovation community and the Academy’s engagement to help shape UKRI is ongoing.

On 4 July 2017 the Academy co-hosted a speech by Sir Mark Walport FRS FMedSci HonFRSE in which he set out his vision for UKRI. 

News: National Academies host UK Research and Innovation vision speech

On 10 October 2016 the Academy convened some of the UK’s most respected business and innovation leaders for a roundtable meeting with Sir John Kingman KCB, interim Chair of UKRI, to offer advice and support to help UKRI deliver the best possible outcomes for UK research and innovation.

Academy hosts business and industry roundtable for UKRI

Research Excellence Framework

The Academy is working closely with the four Higher Education funding bodies and the UK’s engineering and computer science research community to inform decisions on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

In March 2017 the funding bodies announced a consultation on the second REF. The consultation set out proposals on how to implement the next REF, building on REF 2014 and incorporating the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF. One of the most significant points of consultation was on the configuration of the engineering Units of Assessments (UOAs).

The Academy’s response was informed by consultation events in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, which were attended by researchers across all career stages and from a wide range of institutions.

Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework (398.84 KB)

In September 2017 the funding bodies announced their initial decisions on REF 2021. The announcement that there will be a single UOA for engineering in REF 2021, rather than the four engineering UOAs in REF 2014, marks a significant change in the assessment of engineering research.

News: Academy welcomes the funding bodies’ initial decisions on REF 2021

While a single UOA for engineering may confer advantages, such as consistency of approach, issues around adequate visibility of all engineering disciplines, averaging of results and sufficient size and breadth of expertise across the sub-panel will need to be addressed.

Research Integrity

In March 2017 the Academy responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee research integrity inquiry. The Academy outlined the importance of addressing issues that could undermine the benefits that engineering research has for society, or the trust that the public has in research.

Research integrity (325.64 KB)