Improving the UK’s research culture and environment – a review of the landscape

​Universities UK, UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome Trust are inviting tenders for a research study, 'Concordats and agreements review'. The aim of the project is to provide evidence that will help stakeholders improve the ways that key initiatives affect research culture and environment.

There is momentum behind a range of important initiatives to improve the culture and environment in which UK research takes place. These initiatives have grown organically, in response to challenges and opportunities, and cover a range of issues to support researchers and their activities.

These initiatives have diverse approaches to engagement and oversight, different levels of maturity, overlapping scope, and inconsistent monitoring of take-up, impact, or burden. There is also no assessment of their collective effect on the research culture(s) and environment(s) in the UK, nor of any gaps in their remit. There is now an opportunity to gather evidence on the effects of these initiatives and how they interact.

Collecting evidence on the adoption of initiatives, their effects and their relationships, can help to identify where we can make it easier and more rewarding for research teams and organisations to focus on doing high quality research and developing highly skilled and motivated research staff. It is vital that the project leads engage with a wide range of stakeholders to provide the research community with confidence in the work.

This work is being done alongside the UK government's review of research bureaucracy. This joint project from UUK, UKRI and Wellcome Trust will support this and the broader aims of the UK's Research and Development Roadmap.

We are inviting tender submissions to undertake this project, which will run from May to October 2021.  For more information about the project, or to submit a tender, please contact Dan Wake, Policy Manager, Universities UK, via

Tender submissions

Download the Invitation to Tender (ITT) with full details. 

Please return one email copy of your response in English to:

UUK shall have the right to disqualify any candidates who submit incomplete or late tenders.

The submission deadline is Friday 23 April 2021 at 12.00pm BST.

Questions about this ITT 

For transparency, any questions we receive about the consultation will be published below.  

Question on stakeholders: 

The ITT mentions 'stakeholders' several times, and we seem to understand that this term is used in different ways across the document – eg to discuss the organisations owning the concordats/agreements, government, researchers, research support staff. Could you kindly clarify what is your understanding of the stakeholder groups that should be directly engaged or consulted in this review? We can of course make our own assumptions in our response to the ITT, but we would appreciate any insight or specific requirement from you.


There are broadly four groups of stakeholders relevant to the project. They are:

  1. The project sponsors; UUK, UKRI and Wellcome. The contractor should work with the sponsors throughout the project, including to prioritise the initiatives in scope.
  2. A wider group of national bodies, including the project sponsors, government, other research funders and representatives of the research community. This is the primary audience for the project outputs.
  3. The owners, conveners, groups and communities explicitly associated with the initiatives that are the focus of the project. This is the main group with whom the contractor will engage to gather evidence.
  4. The research community affected by the initiatives. The contractor should expect any engagement with this community to be via the owners and groups explicitly associated with the initiatives.


Question on formatting: 

Are there formatting or page limit requirements since none are listed in the ITT itself?


There are no formatting or page limit requirements, however submissions should be emailed in English to  

Question on the length of tender response:

Could you provide a bit of guidance around what you deem to be a ‘concise’ tender please? Guidance in terms of approximate page numbers would be very much appreciated.


As we have not specified a page length approximation in the invitation to tender, we cannot provide further guidance, particularly as some applicants may already be drafting their responses. We can only direct to what is already outlined in the invitation to tender, ie that the submission should be “focusing on the proposed work and budget” and include the information as outlined in the requirements.