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Research funding

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Research Excellence Grant

Our Research Excellence Grant (REG) supports world-leading research in Scottish universities, ensuring Scotland remains globally competitive and attractive to the best researchers.

REG has a dual purpose:

  • To recognise and reward research excellence wherever it is found and in whatever discipline.
  • To uphold the principles of the dual support system, through making a contribution toward the full economic costs of research.

REG provides a long-term, stable source of research funding which institutions can use flexibly to develop and support excellent research as best fits their individual circumstances, thereby supporting the diversity of the sector and their ability to respond to challenges.

The REG funding model takes into account the Research Excellence Framework (REF), a UK-wide system for assessing research in higher education institutions. It is conducted jointly by all four UK higher education funding bodies.

In Academic Year 2023-24 we are providing £247 million through the REG.

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Research Postgraduate Grant

Our Research Postgraduate Grant (RPG) invests in the environment needed for high quality research training and supports postgraduate research students to contribute to research in Scotland.

In Academic Year 2023-24 we will allocate £37 million through RPG.

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Research Excellence Grant and Research Postgraduate Grant review

In 2021 SFC’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (RKEC) conducted a review of REG and RPG including extensive sector consultation:

The review refined REG Principles.

In light of the review, the following changes were made to the REG formula allocation model from
AY 2022-23:

  • Removal of STEMM premium.
  • Changes to unit of assessment (subject) weightings (informed by the 2019 review of subject weightings).
  • The budget for Part A of REG (REGa) has been divided using the same proportions as the REF sub-profiles (60% Outputs, 25% Impact and 15% Environment) and those shares of the REG(a) budget have been allocated by reference to the relevant REF sub-profile quality scores.
  • The percentage of funding allocated through Part C of REG (REGc) has been increased from 11% to 13%, bringing Scotland more in line with the rUK.
  • The quality weighting has been changed to 4:1 (4*=4, 3*=1).

From AY 2022-23 the REG allocation model refers to the REF 2021 results.

The 2021 REF results had a significant impact on universities’ REG allocations. To avoid significant disruption to individual institutions, SFC limited the level of any university’s reduction in REG for
AY 2022-23 to -10%. This transition will be for one year and limitations have been removed for AY 2023-24.