Interim findings published as part of research bureaucracy review

An independent review into research bureaucracy has published its interim findings today (Wednesday 12 January 2022).

Announced last March, the review is led by Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham, and will make recommendations to remove unnecessary red tape in the UK research system.

Today’s interim findings present a summary of the main issues so far and the basis for the next phase of work ahead of the publication of the final report in the spring.

To date the review has focused on the role funders play in the research system, as reflected in the interim report published today. More work on the drivers of unnecessary bureaucracy and on bureaucracy within institutions will be undertaken over the coming months.

The interim report sets out how the review’s approach and final recommendations will be guided by 7 principles:

  • harmonisation: addressing multiplicity in the system by harmonising processes, systems or resources and standardising formats and templates
  • simplification: consolidating and simplifying different elements of the research system that overlap
  • proportionality: ensuring that the obligations placed on institutions and researchers are commensurate with the size of the risk or reward
  • flexibility: balancing stability and dynamism in the funding system to support greater agility
  • transparency: ensuring the rationale behind bureaucracy is made apparent to everyone
  • fairness: ensuring merit should be the primary arbiter of success and any bureaucracy supports fairness
  • sustainability: any changes recommended must be sustainable and avoid destabilising the system

The final report’s recommendations will focus on reducing unnecessary bureaucracy across the research system, enabling our researchers and research teams to fulfil their potential, and reinforcing the UK’s position as science superpower and innovation nation.

Before publishing a final report in the spring, the review team will test emerging proposals with stakeholders and develop a detailed set of recommendations.

Read the interim review.

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