University of Manchester tops UKRI funding list

2020/21 marks the first time an institution beyond the Oxford-Cambridge-London ‘golden triangle’ has topped the annual list of UKRI funding awards

For the first time, an institution outside of the ‘golden triangle’ of Oxford-Cambridge-London has topped the annual list of funding awards from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The University of Manchester secured £98 million of competitive research and innovation grants between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, almost £10 million more than next-best Oxford.

“I am delighted,” said Professor Colette Fagan, vice-president for research at the university. “Research teams at Manchester have continued to bid successfully for funding despite the protracted logistical and personal pressures of working though the covid pandemic.”

A non-departmental government body, UKRI provides the bulk of public research funding to universities, delivered via the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Its figures reflect money committed for all competitive funding opportunities during 2020/21, but do not include block grants, studentships or quality-related research funding from Research England.

The top five institutions to benefit from research and innovation grants won as lead organisation were:

  • University of Manchester (119 awards, totalling £98m)
  • University of Oxford (115, £89m)
  • University of Cambridge (103, £80m)
  • University of Edinburgh (110, £77m)
  • University College London (123 grants, £70m)

The University of Manchester was also among the most prolific institutions to apply for grants and fellowships, with the top five comprising:

  • University of Oxford (549, of which 147 were awarded)
  • University College London (538, 151)
  • University of Edinburgh (443, 136)
  • Imperial College London (434, 117)
  • University of Manchester (430, 141)

London and the South East may no longer boast the top-scoring individual institution on UKRI’s list but, collectively, it remains – by a distance – the dominant force when it comes to hoovering up research funding; in the last year it received almost a third (£666m) of the funding distributed across the UK:

1. London (590 awards, £392m)
2. South East (426, £274m)
3. Scotland (402, £245m)
4. North West (303, £213m)
5. Yorkshire & the Humber (283, £177m)
6. South West (234, £166m)
= East of England (234, £147m)
8. West Midlands (222, £128m)
9. East Midlands (156, £95m)
10. North East (136, £72m)
11. Wales (90, £59m)
12. Northern Ireland (53, £29m)

To dig more deeply into UKRI’s 2020/21 figures, click here for an interactive dashboard.


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