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The research we deliver…driving progress, advancing knowledge

Funder, enabler, hands-on researcher, facility provider, collaboration broker…our many faceted role makes a distinctive and decisive contribution to sustaining the UK’s position at the vanguard of global research. Our scientists and engineers are amongst the best in the world and together we make a real difference.

One of seven UK Research Councils, we are the primary funder for Astronomy, Nuclear, Particle and Particle Astrophysics. With the UK Space Agency, we support Space Exploration. On behalf of the other Research Councils, we manage access to large science facilities for UK researchers through our own facilities and international agreements , making available cutting edge machines to provide x-rays, lasers and neutrons. Continuing our international leadership role, we manage the UK subscriptions to major collaborations in our science areas, such as CERN and ESO.

  • From quarks to quasars, the projects and programmes we support penetrate the mysteries of the tiniest particles and the cavernous vastness of space, revealing the stunning wonders of the Universe and yielding discoveries that unravel its deepest secrets

  • Brilliant new laser techniques to detect bone degeneration, ingenious airport security scanners to pinpoint explosives hidden in hand luggage, hydrogen fuel cells that produce clean energy to defuse dangers posed by climate change – we enable game-changing breakthroughs that tackle threats to life, health and prosperity

  • On the UK’s behalf, we help drive forward flagship global initiatives such as the epoch-making work now opening new frontiers of knowledge at the Large Hadron Collider – a role that allows us to shape influential research, share in its success and ensure the UK is well-placed to harness the outcomes and maximise the benefits

  • We design, construct and manage scientific facilities on behalf of the entire UK scientific community, enabling researchers from all disciplines to have the essential tools needed to explore the world around us in greater detail than ever before – watching chemical reactions as they happen, examining the behaviours of materials as conditions change or seeing inside molecules or cells

Whether undertaken in our laboratories or by academia, industry or our own spinout companies, this work feeds the knowledge economy and achieves a measurable impact in intellectual, social and economic terms. Asking, challenging, exploring…this is research characterised both by its excellence and by its extraordinary breadth of scope.

Case studies

The most recent case studies for Research are also shown in the right-hand column

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