We are in an age of austerity and no areas of public spending are exempt. Research councils, the bodies that allocate public funding of research in the arts, humanities and sciences, have all made cuts to the amount of funding being awarded each year. But is cutting research funds the way to go to save money? In this article by Jonathan Grant, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s, and Kathryn Oliver, from the Department for Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, it is considered that there may be other areas within the funding system that could be made more cost effective to avoid taking money away from research. For example, administrative and time consuming processes such as developing research proposals, peer review and post award evaluation could all be areas worth evaluating as a cost saving measure. When budgets are tightened we should look to ideas of frugal innovation and think outside of the box if we want to protect investment in research.