Research and innovation initiatives

Research Wales Innovation Fund (RWIF)

We provide annual funding to Welsh higher education institutions to further their knowledge exchange activity and enable them to work with industry and businesses, support student enterprise, and support their civic mission and public engagement ambitions. Three-year strategies outline areas of key focus which will support social and economic prosperity in Wales.

The strategies will be monitored annually and updated to reflect new challenges and opportunities.

See strategies for:

Research, innovation and engagement projects

In 2018 we funded two schemes to promote research, innovation, and engagement activities across Wales:

  • £3.5 million for enhancing HE-FE collaboration in innovation and engagement.
  • £1.8 million to enhance civic mission and community engagement.

We also provided £6.6 million to support higher education research in 2019 with a focus on strengthening the research and innovation base through increased external income capture and providing essential infrastructure support.

Collaborative projects

We support a number of research collaborations within Wales, and also partner with the other higher education funding bodies and other organisations in several UK-wide initiatives to benefit research.

Sêr Cymru

The Sêr Cymru programme has built upon and enhanced research in Wales. Investment has focused on three Grand Challenge areas: life sciences and health; low carbon, energy and environment; and advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Sêr Cymru 2 focuses on attracting researchers to Wales at the early or mid stages of their careers, and provides investment of up to £60 million up to 2021. It is funded from European sources, with match funding provided by the universities, Welsh Government and HEFCW.

We are contributing a total of £15 million to the Sêr Cymru programme.

Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research to address challenges faced by developing countries.

We provide funding from the GCRF to eligible universities in Wales, who are required to provide three-year strategies for the use of their allocations.

UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF)

UKRPIF provides funding for capital investment in major new research facilities in universities. The funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is awarded through UK-wide competitions managed by Research England, working in conjunction with the other UK HE funding bodies. Bids must include co-funding from the private sector.

Wales has received funding for three programmes of investment through the UKRPIF scheme.

  • Energy Safety Research Institute, Swansea University (£11.65 million).
  • Research Foundation in Compound Semiconductor Technology, Cardiff University (£17.30 million).
  • Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials, Swansea University (£29.92 million).

Higher Education Research Capital (HERC)

HERC is funded jointly by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Welsh Government, and supports the development of the physical infrastructure associated with research. Institutions must meet a threshold based on excellence to be eligible for support. In 2020-21 £6.96 million was made available. An additional £2.47 million uplift was provided by BEIS as a result of Covid-19.

Sustaining University Research Expertise (SURE) Fund

The SURE fund is a UK Government funded financial package that supports the sustainability of research capacity in the UK, and consists of a mixture of low-interest loans with long pay-back periods, and government grants. BEIS is administering the loan element of the SURE Fund and we are administering the grant element of the SURE fund for participating universities in Wales.

Innovation Nation

Innovation Nation (2017) was our first comprehensive showcase of the contribution Wales’s universities make outside academia. The publication shows how universities bring real benefit to the economy of Wales through their wide-ranging R&D and training activities.