Over three-quarters of all publicly-funded research and development takes place in a university, and this is money well spent:
The last national assessment of research quality in the UK's universities, the Research Excellence Framework, found that 76% of the submitted work was internationally excellent or world-leading.
With just 1% of the world's population, we produced 16% of the most highly cited research articles.
However, government can do more to support UK science and research in universities. Greater public investment is needed if we are to maximise the benefits and impact of our world-leading research base.
To secure long-term, sustainable investment in UK science and research in universities
To ensure that the policy, governance and administrative environment supports excellent research in universities
To provide support, advice and guidance to help enhance the quality and reputation of UK science and research
To communicate the benefits of university-based science and research to the economy, society and people's everyday lives
Our work on science and research policy is informed by the Research Policy Network, chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond (Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen).
In order to remain at the forefront of the global research community, we need to ensure that our universities have the resources and support to fulfil their potential.
We make the case to government for continued and increased investment in science and research, setting out the evidence base for greater public investment in our universities . We also represent the university interest, working with government, funders and other stakeholders to ensure that the UK policy environment supports world class research.
We believe that all of the UK's publicly-funded research should be available to the public, for free. Open access makes research more transparent, rigorous and efficient; stimulates innovation; and promotes public engagement.
To support the move towards open access we convene the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group, which brings together representatives from across the scholarly process, including research producers, funders and publishers, to coordinate and monitor progress.
Similarly, we are engaged with open research data, which improves the accessibility and reuse of the data underpinning research publications. We contribute to this agenda as a member of the Open Research Data Forum.
Many of our members are engaged in essential research using animals, and are subject to one of the most comprehensive and robust regulatory systems in the world. Recognising that such research is necessary and has the potential to deliver significant benefits, we encourage our members to:
be open and transparent in their research practices
follow best practice in husbandry and welfare at all times
actively engage with the 3Rs agenda
We sit on the governance group of the Concordat on openness on animal research in the UK, of which we are also signatories.
Good research is underpinned by appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards; a culture of integrity and good governance; and support for the development of researchers.
We are signatories to the Concordat to support research integrity, which sets out expectations for all those involved in research through five high-level commitments.
We support the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research, which aims to help embed public engagement in universities and research institutes by setting out clear expectations for all those involved in research. The concordat seeks to support, recognise and promote existing good practice in public engagement.
We also support a consortium of partners on a project to explore the barriers to public engagement by researchers, and look for opportunities promote discussions between researchers, universities, research institutes, funders and the public.
The success of UK research depends on universities' ability to attract, support and reward all research staff. We support universities to do this by contributing to sector-wide initiatives such as the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.