The UK R&D Roadmap reaffirms the Government’s pledge, laid out in the March 2020 Budget, to increase public R&D investment to £22bn a year by 2025. The Government will consult with stakeholders in the coming months with the intention of ensuring a robust long-term plan. It is critical that both business and Government to seize the moment by focusing in on where exactly this investment is most needed both in terms of geography and company make-up and ambition.
Whilst tax incentives are important, they represent only a small part of the picture. So it is welcome news that the government will review how the environment for businesses that are innovating can be enhanced, for example by providing greater access to finance and by helping entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to commercialise intellectual property. A focus on retaining and developing talent across the country, and from around the world, along with global investment and collaboration is also encouraging.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown UK innovation at its best with businesses across the UK acting quickly to adapt and apply their talents where they are needed. However, it is evident that establishing a better balance of where research investment is located across UK will be critical to ensuring future economic growth. Furthermore, as the business community now considers ways to accelerate back to previous levels of output, it is paramount that investment is placed in the right businesses – those that are the most innovative and relevant to the ambitions of UK plc. If embracing those opportunities is to be made possible then it is essential that businesses, educational institutions and central government collaborate.
The Government’s priorities and drivers on research and innovation are clear, but the UK is far from achieving its goals and full potential. The roadmap marks the start of a conversation and debate. It is now the turn of businesses and other key stakeholders to help shape policy change. If the consultation is carried out comprehensively and honestly, there is the potential for the roadmap to be truly transformational for UK R&D.
The Government welcome responses to eight high level questions outlined in this survey - which runs until 12 August 2020.