Working with universities

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) invests the majority of its funds in UK universities. As a consequence, we work closely with the university sector to deliver our strategies and portfolio of research.

Interactions take place via a range of mechanisms across the organisation, including:

  • thematic visits
  • regional meetings and events (supported by our heads of regional engagement)
  • engagement with our portfolio managers

We have strong links with universities through our advisory bodies and also engage closely with research offices in operational areas such as peer review policy and on specific schemes and activities.

Strategic relationships with 36 universities

We maintain strategic relationships with the top 36 universities in our portfolio.

Membership of this group is reviewed every three years, with the fifth triennial review undertaken in 2023.

The 36 universities are referred to as strategic partners, split over two tiers.

The first tier contains the 20 universities with the largest EPSRC portfolios, and the second has the next 16.

These universities collectively account for approximately 95% of EPSRC’s funding.

Senior management in these universities have a one-to-one relationship with an EPSRC contact, a director, deputy director, head of programme or regional engagement level.

Through these university strategic partner relationships, founded on mutual understanding, openness and trust, EPSRC aims to:

  • work collaboratively towards strategy and policy goals to strengthen the UK research and innovation landscape in engineering and physical sciences
  • increase our knowledge and understanding of challenges and opportunities, to support strategic planning
  • build our evidence base to help demonstrate the impact of our investments

We are committed to funding the best research and training in whichever university it is to be found, and to continue dialogue and information sharing with all universities.

Our strategic partners

Tier one

Cardiff University
Heriot Watt University
Imperial College London
Newcastle University
University College London
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
The University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of Leeds
The University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
The University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of Strathclyde
University of Warwick
University of York

Tier two

Aston University
Brunel University London
Cranfield University
Durham University
King’s College London
Lancaster University
Loughborough University
Queen Mary, University London
Queen’s University Belfast
Swansea University
University of Exeter
University of Huddersfield
University of Liverpool
University of Plymouth
University of St Andrews
University of Surrey

Last updated: 1 January 2024

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