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One Agency to Oversee Them All

A report from Paul Nurse, the Royal Society president, recommends that the UK establish an agency to supervise and coordinate among the various research councils, according to ScienceInsider

In the report, Nurse, who also leads the Francis Crick Institute, recommends that a new umbrella organization called Research UK (RUK) be created to provide management and take on administrative duties as well as reporting to Parliament. That way, the leaders of the individual councils would be left with more time to coordinate with their own research communities, though they would retain control of their individual budgets.

"While maintaining the integrity of the Research Councils, the establishment of RUK will deliver cross-cutting activities and better strategic thinking," the report says.

The head of the proposed organization, Nature News adds, would in effect be the boss of the seven research council leaders.

Science minister Jo Johnson tells Nature News that the government would "carefully consider the proposal to establish Research UK."

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, which funds the research councils, commissioned the review as the UK prepares for the outcome of a spending review that may send science budgets falling, both ScienceInsider and Nature News note.