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The Nurse review of Research Councils led by Sir Paul Nurse Hon FRSB has today advised the Government that the seven UK research councils should be retained, and recommends the creation of Research UK, a new body with unprecedented oversight.

The Research Councils provide strategic guidance and influential funding for their respective disciplines and communities. Today's report, Ensuring a Successful Research Endeavour recommends preserving the Research Councils, but ‘evolving Research Councils UK into Research UK as a formal organisation for managing cross-Council research funds’ with the aim of ‘formulating a strong collective strategic position, and ensuring an efficient approach to administrative functions.’

Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology said:
“The Research Councils are critical to development and growth and to maximise the UK's potential for discovery and innovation. Ensuring that they can operate well and efficiently, with support and review from the research community, is vital.

"The creation of Research UK, and the retention of the Research Councils, offers an opportunity to build on disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary focus. Maintaining disciplinary capacity for peer review and deep subject knowledge remains key to future success of the science communities. Sharing services and developing a broad oversight can ensure the best use of public funds. Critical to the success of Research UK will be the appointment of a visionary and respected scientist to lead this latest development in Research Council history.

"The potential remit of Research UK, extending into both research council and departmental research directions, is broad and could fundamentally reshape the research landscape of the UK. We will work with government and the research communities to explore how to achieve the best outcome for the UK and its bioscientists.

"It is important that savings made through back office integration are ploughed into front line research.”

The Nurse review comes at the end of extensive discussion across the research community and in the light of additional focus on translation and use by Professor Dame Ann Dowling. A report of this magnitude requires extensive and careful reading and community discussion to fully understand its implications. The RSB will continue to work closely with Research Councils, and broader research community in government and beyond to support UK bioscience and the generation and use of an evidence base for good governance as well as for knowledge and innovation.