Expectations are high for UKRI, the United Kingdom’s new £6 billion research behemoth | Science | AAAS
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"Combine U.S. agencies akin to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Toss in some energy and innovation research and fuel it all with the largest boost in R&D spending in recent history. Then put one person in charge.
That's what the United Kingdom has done in a major reorganization of research funding that unites all the research councils that support U.K. science. The intent is to provide a strategic vision and voice for science, boost efficiency, foster interdisciplinary research, and—fingers crossed—kick-start an economy jeopardized by Brexit. "There is a lot to be hopeful for," says Sarah Main, executive director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering in London.
The new organization, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), officially opens 1 April. It is headed by Mark Walport, who led the Wellcome Trust research charity from 2003 to 2013 and then served as the government chief science adviser. John Kingman, a former senior civil servant at the treasury department who is experienced in research and innovation policy, is UKRI board chair. "It's a very powerful top team," says Kieron Flanagan, a science policy expert at The University of Manchester who spoke in a personal capacity because he is participating in a country-wide university strike over pension benefits...."