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Research and Innovation

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Our ambition is to maintain – and improve – Scotland’s world-leading position in university research, and maximise its impact through a combination of strategic investment and innovative policies.

Scotland’s universities have an outstanding reputation and record of success in research, appearing prominently in international rankings of research and attracting high levels of funding. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework – which measures the quality of research in UK universities – 84% of research in Scotland’s universities was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

We support the competitiveness of Scotland’s research base through a range of investments and the training and development of postgraduate teaching and research students. We aim to develop and sustain a dynamic and internationally competitive research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion of knowledge.


Scotland’s universities are a key part of the innovation system because of the skills that their graduates bring to the economy, the quality of their research and their ability to generate new ideas, products and processes. All of which has the potential to support business growth and competitiveness.

University Innovation Fund

The University Innovation Fund (UIF) incentivises universities to work collaboratively to design and adopt innovative new approaches to exploiting the research base that will lead to a significant positive change in Scotland’s already good economic performance.

Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund

The Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund (KEIF) will begin from AY 2024-25 and will replace the University Innovation Fund. For further information see Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Fund Further Information 2024-25

University Innovation Fund Review

The review was supported by SFC’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee’s (RKEC) UIF Review Group. The review assessed progress against the original aims of the UIF approach and provided recommendations for improvement and enhancement. The Review Group was chaired by former SFC Board member, Douglas Mundie with membership from SFC’s RKEC and other partner organisations.

Further information about the review.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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