The UK government has launched a review to eradicate bureaucracy that wastes researchers’ time, such as overly complicated grant forms. The aim is to make the country’s research environment more dynamic, diverse and transparent by freeing up scientists to spend more time generating knowledge and mentoring their teams.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown researchers’ ability for fast-paced discovery, which has brought much needed medical advances, said Amanda Solloway, the minister for science, research and innovation. ‘As we build back better by unleashing innovation, it’s crucial that we create a research environment that harnesses this same scientific speed and endeavour.’

The review – led by Adam Tickell, an economic geographer at the University of Sussex – will identify time-consuming administrative tasks such as grant forms that require in-depth financial knowledge, lack of clarity over available funding and needing to provide the same data multiple times in different formats to different funders. It will then provide solutions to minimise such bureaucracy while maintaining mechanisms that allow for monitoring research impact and value for money.

‘We very much welcome the opportunity to challenge the parts of the research system which can restrict university staff and students from delivering impactful research,’ said Brunel University London pharmacologist Julia Buckingham, who is also president of Universities UK. The national funding agency UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) also endorsed the review.

Interim findings will be published in autumn with the full review expected to conclude early 2022.