Licensing procedures for centres and institutes

The majority of research at the University of St Andrews takes place within academic schools. However, the University also supports a number of world-class, often cross-disciplinary or cross-institutional, research centres or institutes:

  • Centre: a group concerned, generally, with research collaboration;
  • Institute: a group concerned with research collaboration as well as the provision of some teaching usually at postgraduate level.

The designation ‘Centre’ should be used for collaborative research groups, while groups with teaching provision should be designated ‘Institutes’. RCIs are expected to have a listing in our Research Information Management System (Pure) and a public presence clearly linked to the University corporate identity, identifying the Director(s) and the participating school(s).

New centre or institute licensing procedure

Proposals for a new centre or institute should be completed online, a link to the online application can be requested from Research & Innovation Services (  The proposal should be supported by a signed letter from both the appropriate Head(s) of School and Director(s) of Research.  The supporting documents should be uploaded at the time of application and propose the future commitments from the school.

Centres and Institutes are reviewed annually by Research and Innovation Services on behalf of PO through the Vice-Principal Research, Collections and Innovation(VPRCI). Any interim changes to the centre or institute should be sent to Research & Innovation Services (  The maximum life of an RCI licence will be five years, at which point a relicensing application will have to be submitted for continuation. 

Centre or institute relicensing procedure

All existing Research Centres and Institutes (RCIs) will be invited to apply for relicensing, beginning with those RCIs which have been licensed the longest.  Directors do not need to take any action until they receive their invitation with a link to the online form.

The University recognises three types which correspond to the levels at which RCIs are licensed:

  • University level: University-wide strategic priority RCIs that usually span several Schools.
  • Inter-school level: RCIs spanning and of importance to two or more School strategic plans.
  • School level: These RCIs are of strategic relevance to a single School.

New application and relicensing approval process

On receipt of a submitted application, if all criteria are met and no further information is required from the applicant, in consultation with the VPRCI the application will be accepted for review.  The VPRCI and RIS team will present the application at the next available Research Excellence Board(REB) for review.  University level RCIs recommended by REB will be referred to PO for approval. The decision will be communicated to the applicant (copied to Head of School, Director of Research, and Director of Impact & Innovation of the hosting school) by the RIS team.

View the Research Centres and Institutes policy document.

Centre or institute annual report

During their lifespan, RCIs will be required to submit a short annual report focusing on progress against their ambitions by the end of years one and two; an interim review will take place at the end of year three and end of life/relicensing by end of year five.

A full list of the University of St Andrews Research Centres and Institutes (RCIs) can be found in the Research portal. It is expected that the RCI will maintain their own website, which should include the University logo, contact details, the Director, staff involved, the focus, aims and activities of the Centre.

RCI's are asked to notify RIS of any significant changes, such as Director’s name, RCI title, status, or type. If you are unsure if the change requires approval please contact the RIS team.

For all enquiries please contact in the first instance.