Brain Sciences


£8.5m funding boost to support world-leading open research

15 September 2021

UCL is part of a consortium of 18 universities – members of the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) – which has received significant funding to support open research practices across the sector, furthering the UK’s position at the forefront of rigorous and reproducible research.

UCL Portico

The project, which includes £4.5m from the Research England Development (RED) Fund, represents a major strategic investment by Research England that is intended to ensure the UK leads the open research agenda and continues to generate globally impactful research of the highest quality.

It builds on the recent announcement by the Science Minister Amanda Solloway regarding UKRI’s new open access policy. The benefits of open research practices for improving the quality and integrity of research have been widely documented and are recognised by the UK Government R&D Roadmap as contributing to improving the culture of research.

This funding will drive uptake of open research practices across the UK, through the delivery of training and evaluation of its impact. Initially the project will be delivered across institutions that are part of the UKRN. The network is expected to grow over the five years of the award, making training and material available more widely across the sector.

Professor David Shanks, UKRN institutional lead at UCL, said: “We are proud to have been a founding member of UKRN and are delighted at this major award. Funding from Research England will support training in open research, enhance research infrastructure, and provide incentives for researchers and the wider community to build transparency into all stages of the research pipeline.”

“There is widespread recognition that research practices in many if not all academic fields could be improved, and this problem is sufficiently serious that it is the focus of a current Parliamentary inquiry. Transparency is a key vehicle to remedy this problem, improve research quality and enhance public trust in science. As a leading research powerhouse, UCL wants to be at the vanguard of efforts to enhance the robustness of research findings.”

Professor Shanks added: “UCL’s reputation will be enhanced both by being associated with cutting-edge developments in open research, and by the anticipated improvements in the quality of research that UCL academics conduct.”

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said:

“We know that increasing the transparency of the research process supports higher standards of research integrity, and drives up the quality and reach of research. Research England has supported the UK Reproducibility Network since its inception. We are delighted to fund this project, which will enable the network to scale up its activities, and accelerate the uptake of open research practices across the sector.”