Charity Research Support Fund

Last reviewed 
14 December 2015

What is the Charity Research Support Fund?

Charitable funding of research relies on public donation and philanthropy; donors expect their money to be spent on research to develop treatments. Universities also need money to pay for the maintenance of labs, lighting and heating – the full economic costs of conducting research. They can cover some of these costs through a block grant they receive from the funding councils, but they also ask research funders to cover a proportion of these.

This presents a challenge for charities that need to ensure their donors’ money is spent as they expect – on research to develop treatments. Recognising this, the government partners charities through the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF). This fund is distributed as part of the block grant to universities and covers the universities’ costs, allowing charity donors’ money to be spent directly on research.

A similar partnership operates when charities fund in the NHS through the AcoRD agreement.

In England the Charity Research Support Fund provides universities with up to a 26% uplift on the funds they receive from charities.

Is all charity-funded research eligible for the Charity Research Support Fund?

The government will only partner charity funders who are funding research where:

  • The funder has a published research strategy.
  • The research contributes to the enhancement of the research base or in some other way provides a scientific good.
  • The research is of the highest quality and funders have appraisal systems such as peer review to ensure this.

These are all requirements of AMRC membership meaning that all AMRC members’ research will qualify for CRSF if it is awarded through open competition. Our member profiles indicate whether a charity’s funding streams are eligible for CRSF.

How is the Charity Research Support Fund allocated?

The funding councils in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each calculate the allocation of charity research support funding differently. Information can be found in their circulars to universities.

Charity Research Support Fund in 2015

The CRSF started life in 2008 and has provided around £200M per annum to universites to fund the indirect costs of charity research. In the same time period, funding from AMRC’s members has increased at a faster rate. For the fund to be effective, it needs to keep pace with charity investment. We have included this as one of our challenges for government in 2015.